Author Gennifer Choldenko Visits Hamlin

On Tuesday, The Hamlin School welcomed acclaimed children’s author Gennifer Choldenko.

Ms. Choldenko is best known for her Tales from Alcatraz series, which has sold more than 2 million copies. Book #1: Al Capone Does My Shirts was a Newbery Honor Book and the recipient of twenty other awards. Book #4: Al Capone Throws Me a Curve is due out in 2018. BookPage said of her most recent novel, Chasing Secrets: “Choldenko’s ability to research obscure yet intriguing topics is uncanny, and as she did with the popular Al Capone trilogy she turns a tough topic into a high interest read … a compelling work of historical fiction.” Gennifer lives with her loyal husband and naughty dog in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Ms. Choldenko shared her passion for writing historical fiction. After facing several years of having books rejected by publishers, she came up with the idea of writing about kids who lived on Alcatraz. She spoke about the importance of doing extensive research to really learn about a subject. She interviewed former guards, their children, and even former prisoners, to acquire detailed information. During her entertaining presentation she covered a wide range of Alcatraz-related topics ranging from how much money Al Capone spent on silk underwear, to the special rules of convict baseball.

Ms. Choldenko also shared her four favorite writing tips with our girls. They are:

1. Fill your head with information (research and learn as much as you can before writing)

2. Write your ideas down (even if they come at strange times)

3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (they happen)

4. Give yourself a new chance every day


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