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About Gennifer Choldenko
There’s a Lego in my bum which fits with the Lego in my chair and when I sit down to write, I hear the satisfying snap of the two pieces fitting together. I love words, dictionaries, thesauruses, sharp pencils, the smell of book ink and the delicious art of carving out sentences on clean white paper. I love to slip into another person’s skin and feel what it’s like to live another life. I love when characters come to me out of nowhere and make me cry so hard my mascara runs or laugh until my stomach hurts. I love the crazy fun and infinite possibility of storytelling.
What prepared me for a life of writing fiction? Though I have a BA from Brandeis University in English and American Literature and a BFA in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design, the true answer is probably genes. I come from a long line of Irish storytellers on my father’s side and theatre people on my mother’s. I always knew I loved to write, but it took me a long time to summon the courage to chase the dream. I finally went for it when I realized I would prefer to be a failure at something I wanted to do, then a success at something I didn’t.
While I was pretending I wasn’t a writer, trying to be a nice person with a nice quiet job somewhere, I sold lingerie, lipstick and lamp shades. I wrote junk mail. I taught visually and hearing-impaired kids horseback riding. I held a prestigious job in rubbish removal and I worked in a factory wearing a paper gown while wielding a large mallet on small serving packages of ketchup.
One Third Nerd, my funniest novel yet, is due out in January 2019. My most famous novel, Al Capone Does My Shirts, garnered 20 awards, one of which was the Newbery Honor. The Tales of Alcatraz series has sold more than 2 million copies. What will probably be the last book in the series: Al Capone Throws Me a Curve is the best of the fifteen books I’ve written so far.
I am a fitness fanatic; a book-obsessed, tennis-playing woman who thinks like a twelve-year-old. If I ever get the good fortune to meet you, offer me coffee and I will be your friend for life.
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Books By Gennifer Choldenko
Soon Moose is caught up in a terrible cycle of secrets and favours that threatens to destabilise his entire family in this nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat novel.
Moose Flanagan lives on a famous island in California: Alcatraz, home to some of the most dangerous prisoners in the United States in the 1930s. It's the summer before he starts high school, and Moose is going to play a lot of baseball and win a spot on the high school team. But he still needs to watch his special older sister, Natalie--and then the warden asks Moose to look after his two-faced, danger-loving daughter, Piper.
In the cell house there are rumors that the cons will a strike, and that Moose's father might step up to a new job. Moose is worried: What will this mean for their family, especially for Natalie, who's had some scary run-ins with prisoners? Then the unthinkable happens: Natalie winds up someplace she should never, ever go. And Moose has to rescue her.
Don't miss the rest of the Tales from Alcatraz series!
Al Capone Does My Shirts
Al Capone Shines My Shoes
Al Capone Does My Homework
It's 1936, and Matthew 'Moose' Flanagan lives on Alcatraz Island.
His father's just been promoted to deputy warden - so Moose, his mom and his autistic sixteen-year-old sister Natalie are expecting to enjoy some new benefits, even if everyone says his dad's too nice for the job. The last thing they expect is for their apartment to burn down on his second day.
The tight-knit community of prison guards, their wives and their children are a mixture of welcoming and accusing - even the nicest people (heck, even Moose's mom) think Natalie probably had something to do with it - but Moose is sure she didn't. Nat's not dangerous, she's just... different.
Determined to prove his sister innocent, Moose and his gang of fellow 'inmate' children must work quickly to find out just who started the fire - and why. But what they aren't expecting is a note from an old 'friend' of theirs: Alcatraz's 'star boarder' and the most famous gangster in America - maybe even the world - convict #85. Al Capone...
Nicholas was afraid of the dark outside his door, the bushes where the giant bugs live, and the underside of manhole covers.
His dad was not afraid of anything.
Nicholas wants to be as brave as his dad, but he needs help. That’s why he needs a dinosaur. After all, dinosaurs like the dark, bugs are nothing to them, and they eat manhole covers for lunch (and everything under them for dinner).
With his toy dinosaur, Nicholas can scale tall walls, swim in deep water, even score a goal against the huge goalie everyone calls Gorilla. But when the dinosaur goes missing, everything is scary again.
Luckily, his dad knows that even the bravest people can get scared, and it’s okay to ask for help facing your fears. It’s just guy stuff.
A family classic in the making from the dream team of Newbery Honor-winner Gennifer Choldenko and Caldecott Medal-winner Dan Santat.
★ "[Choldenko's] knowing, understated storytelling and Santat’s warm, expressive spreads give full credence to the fears that weigh on kids, as well as the presences—both real and imagined—that can help alleviate them."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
San Francisco, 1900. Thirteen-year-old Lizzy Kennedy is not like the other girls in her town. She'd much rather be helping her doctor father with his patients than be stuck in frilly dresses and learn how to dance - but unfortunately for her, society (and her Aunt Hortense) has other ideas about what is 'proper' for a young lady. This includes not poking your nose in other's people's business - but then Jing, their beloved housekeeper, gets stuck in the Chinatown quarantine. Fear rules San Francisco - fear of the Chinese, and mostly fear of the plague rumours that circle them. Lizzie knows she has to help Jing, whatever the warnings. But what she doesn't expect to find is a strange boy hiding in Jing's room.
The boy is called Noah. He says he's Jing's son - although Lizzie's never heard of him - and although he's escaped the quarantine, he can't risk leaving the house in case he gets rounded-up too. Lizzie wants to investigate, but it seems her questions only get people riled up. Is there really plague in San Francisco? What have the Chinese got to do with it? Just what or who is the mysterious 'monkey' - and what has his secret got to do with anything? Lizzie will have to use all of her courage, instinct and cleverness to unravel the mystery of the monkey's secret, save Jing, Noah and Chinatown - and maybe even her change her own destiny.
Ant's life meanders along until one day her lying starts to cause her, and those around her, some rather serious problems. Forced to face up to some of the things she has spent her life trying to hide from, in particular Ant has to come to terms with why she doesn't get on with her mother.
An uplifting, exciting and truly original story.
For Walker the goal is simply to survive in the private school his mother has moved him to because she doesn't want him to mess up with most of the kids in his old school.
Then Kirsten discovers something that has a big impact on both her and Walker's lives.
But when they land, a mysterious driver meets them at the airport in a pink car adorned with feathers. He has never heard of their Uncle Red.
Like Dorothy in Oz, they find themselves in an unknown place, with no idea of how to get home. Time is running out . . .
River and Niko find their dad is missing, and they have no choice but to track him down. But when they discover the clues lead to a shady reptile dealer, they start to think they might have gotten in over their heads. A short story from Guys Read: Thriller, edited by Jon Scieszka.