Helping children develop their American and native cultural identities together.

Book Review: Prisoner in Alcatraz by Theresa Breslin

Posted by bububooks on September 21, 2009

prisoner in alcatrazTheresa Breslin wrote this book based on real experiences from when a group of prisoners attempted to break out of Alcatraz in the late 1940s. The story is told from the point of view of Marty King, a young, simple man who wants to grow tomatoes in the warm sun of Mexico and somehow manages to get into bad situations that ultimately land him in Alcatraz. Because he is small, some other prisoners convince him (as if he really had a choice) to help prepare for a break out by crawling through an air vent and making an imprint of a key on a bar of soap. Without ruining the story, Marty shares his insights into the legendary prisoners at Alcatraz and his own life.

The first element that stuck out to me was Breslin’s use of structure in this story. We first meet Marty after he’s in Alcatraz and subsequently learn how he grew up with his Ma in Chicago and, in between, how he gets bullied into the escape party and how he got into Alcatraz to begin with. The next element Breslin exceeds it that her use of voice. We can picture Marty as he speaks, through the way he speaks, as well as Marty’s cohorts and fellow prisoners. We sense who they are simply through their dialogue. Because of these two elements, Breslin presents an entertaining and highly impactful story in slightly more than 80 pages.

Now this book is not bilingual and we do not carry it at bububooks (yet). However, we wanted to share it with you because not only is Theresa Breslin an amazing author, but also because the publisher of this particular book is special to us. They are known as Barrington Stoke and are located in Great Britain. Barrington Stoke uses its own font and paper that are designed to help dyslexic people read. The font, with its “a”s and “g”s shaped more like how we write them rather than type them, is also useful to English Language Learners who may need to reconcile the difference between handwritten English letters and typed English letters. Further, Barrington Stoke uses readers as consultants on titles before they’re published. If you’re interested in becoming a consultant, email them at info@barringtonstoke.co.uk or visit www.barringtonstoke.co.uk.

For more information on Theresa Breslin and her work, please visit: http://www.theresabreslin.co.uk/


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