Gennifer Choldenko Books In Order

Publication Order of Tales from Alcatraz Books

Al Capone Does My Shirts (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Al Capone Shines My Shoes (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Al Capone Does My Homework (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Notes from a Liar and Her Dog (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
If a Tree Falls at Lunch Break aka If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
No Passengers Beyond This Point (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Chasing Secrets (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Monkey's Secret (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Picture Books

Moonstruck (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
How to Make Friends with a Giant (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Louder, Lili (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Giant Crush (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Putting the Monkeys to Bed (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dad and the Dinosaur (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Snake Mafia (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Gennifer Choldenko is an American Writer born in 1957. Gennifer has primarily written books aimed towards children and adolescents.


Gennifer Choldenko was born in Santa Monica, California. She was youngest of the four children in the family. She was also the youngest of the cousins she knew. Gennifer remembers being called Shrimp, Snot-Nose, Short Stuff and a whole host of cheeky nicknames.

As children, Gennifer remembers that she, along with her siblings, were unnaturally loud. In fact, they used to make so much noise that it became the norm for neighbors to wonder whether their mother was somewhat deaf. It wasn’t fathomable for someone to contend with so much noise in such close quarters without taking steps to control it.

Gennifer admits that they all definitely had big mouths. Only Gina, her sister, escaped the trait, and only because she had autism; Gina’s ailment was a big part of Gennifer Choldenko’s life.

Her parents worked tirelessly to find more effective ways of helping her. However, there were no easy answers to the problem, and Gina was always a handful. Gennifer Choldenko has compared her parent’s attempts at helping Gina to riding a unicycle in an earthquake.

As the youngest, Gennifer was by herself a lot. She put her mind to good use, making up stories, words, songs, and even Jokes. Of course, because of her age, none of the things she created made much sense to anyone else.

But that didn’t matter; her imagination was growing and becoming stranger and, for an author, that was a good thing.

+Literary Career

In tracing Gennifer Choldenko’s literary career, one would have to look back at the time she spent at Brandeis University and the degree in English she acquired. Life after university saw her working in writing advertisement.

Her time was spent finding the best ways to make people give mortgages a second look or possibly even buy death and dismemberment insurance. The work was difficult, primarily because of how rote it was in some cases. She spent seven years writing copy until she began to tire of it all.

She eventually sought to further her education by attending Art School. Her second degree came from Rhode Island School of Design. At this point, her task was clear enough. She would get her portfolio together and begin working to garner more fulfilling work.

What happened next was a little unexpected but not completely unwanted; Gennifer wrote her first novel, Notes from a Liar and Her Dog. Gennifer seems to think that her best work is done when she should be doing something else.

Whether or not that is true, her first book was a hit, winning her the “Best Book of the Year’ Award from the School Library Journal. Later on, she would also win the 2005 Newberry Conor Citation.

The mother of two has a special place in her home where she has done a lot of her writing, a tiny room within which is the best chair she has ever had. A chair that is neither too big nor too small; neither too hard nor too soft; it is a chair that is just perfect and within which she can disappear into her imagination.

Gennifer Choldenko mines her ideas from the various curious moments of her life. For instance, it took a nonfiction book about rats in 1900 San Francisco to spark the idea for ‘Chasing Secrets’.

Gennifer Choldenko’s books have a wide appeal amongst children and adolescents.

+Al Capone Does my Shirts

Moose Flanagan’s interesting life takes an even more interesting turn when he moves to his new home with his family. It isn’t just the cement that covers everything, the bird turd or even the fact that they are surrounded by water.

It’s his neighbors. Moose isn’t alone. Along with his sister Natalie, there are 23 other kids on the Island, kids who are there because their fathers work as guards, cooks, and doctors for the prison, just like Moose’s father.

The people within Moose’s immediate vicinity are kidnappers, embezzlers, rapists, con men and every other kind of criminal you can think of. Moose’s neighbors are convicts that every other prison does not want.

But you don’t need to be the worst of the worst to get to Alcatraz, not when you are Moose.

You rarely find first person narration that is as beautifully done as this. If you didn’t know, there are actually children who lived on Alcatraz in the 1930s. And Gennifer Choldenko tries to put readers into the perspective of one such child.

Moose has to live on Alcatraz because his father works round the clock in the prison. He needs the work because Natalie needs to attend a prestigious and expensive school designed to contend with children like Natalie who has autism.

Moose loves his sister, but he also finds her complications are little irritating. He is that ‘okay’ type of individual, often ignored because Natalie absorbs all the attention. Even with his many responsibilities, Moose is free to wander and adventure in a story that is as heartwarming as they get.

+Al Capone Shines My Shoes

Moose Flanagan is adjusting to life on Alcatraz with his family and the hundreds of criminals that surround them. He quickly learns that life can get a lot stranger than it already has.

Moose reached out to one of the cons in the prison. He needed a favor. He wanted his sister, Natalie to get into a school she desperately needed as a special needs child. So he wrote a letter to Al Capone, a man he has never met, asking him to use his influence to make it happen.

And it worked; Natalie got into the school. Then a note appeared for Moose, left in his freshly laundered shirt, telling him that the job was done. Then another note appeared, reminding him that Al Capone had just done him a favor and that it was his turn to reciprocate.

This sequel allows Gennifer Choldenko to cover a lot of ground. Her characters actually move forward (in ways that rarely happen with the typical sequel). Natalie, in particular, seems to have settled into her new life, transforming into more than just another helpless character.

Readers are given even more of Moose, who you cannot help but love. There are twists, turns and a brilliant conclusion that makes this more than just another Children’s book.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Gennifer Choldenko