Prison Or Jail: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about prison or jail?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to prison or jail. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about prison or jail.

Our list includes chapter books. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about prison or jail, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Al Capone Does My Shirts to popular sellers like Al Capone Does My Shoes.

We hope this list of kids books about prison or jail can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Al Capone Does My Shirts book
#1
Al Capone Does My Shirts
Written and illustrated by Gennifer Choldenko
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards’ families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister Natalie. A Newbery Honor Book & ALA Notable Book. Reprint. Jr Lib Guild & Children’s BOMC.

Where Is Alcatraz? book
#2
Where Is Alcatraz?
Written by Who HQ and Nico Medina and illustrated by David Groff
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The island of Alcatraz has always been a place that’s fascinated visitors, from the Native American tribes who believed it was home to evil spirits to the Spanish explorers who discovered the island. In modern times, it was a federal prison for only 29 years, but now draws over a million visitors each year. Learn the history of America’s most famous prison, from its initial construction as a fort in the 1800s, to its most famous residents such as Al Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly. Where Is Alcatraz? also chronicles some of the most exciting escape attempts—even one that involved chipping through stone with spoons and constructing rafts out of raincoats!

The Alcatraz Escape book
#3
The Alcatraz Escape
Written by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman and illustrated by Sarah Watts
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-14

Sleuthing duo Emily and James engage in a literary escape-room challenge on Alcatraz Island, but soon find that an invisible enemy is trying to sabotage the team at any cost.

Al Capone Throws Me a Curve book
#4
Al Capone Throws Me a Curve
Written and illustrated by Gennifer Choldenko
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Moose has his hands full during the summer of 1936 watching his autistic sister, Natalie, and the warden’s daughter, Piper, and trying to get on a baseball team by proving he knows Al Capone.

Al Capone Does My Homework book
#5
Al Capone Does My Homework
Written and illustrated by Gennifer Choldenko
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Alcatraz Island in the 1930s isn’t the most normal place to grow up, but it’s home for Moose Flanagan, his autistic sister, Natalie, and all the families of the guards. When Moose’s dad gets promoted to Associate Warden, despite being an unlikely candidate, it’s a big deal. But the cons have a point system for targeting prison employees, and his dad is now in serious danger. After a fire starts in the Flanagan’s apartment, Natalie is blamed, and Moose bands with the other kids to track down the possible arsonist. Then Moose gets a cryptic note from the notorious Al Capone himself. Is Capone trying to protect Moose’s dad too? If Moose can’t figure out what Capone’s note means, it may be too late.

  1. Breakout! Escape from Alcatraz - An easy-to-read study of Alcatraz, “The Rock,” describes how America’s renowned prison housed some of the country’s most notorious criminals.

  2. Al Capone Does My Shoes - What do you do when your neighbors are a bunch of hit men, con men, and mad dog murderers? Well, if you’re Moose Flanagan, you ask the most notorious convict of them all, Al Capone, for help. But when that convict comes through for you-and then asks you for a favor in return-suddenly it’s a whole different ball game. Picking up where the Newbery-Honor winning Al Capone Does My Shirts left off, this lively second romp featuring Moose, his friends, and some of Alcatraz’s “finest” is just as satisfying as the first.

  3. The Children of Alcatraz - Offers a look at the life of the children who grew up on this infamous island with their families throughout its long and diverse history as a military prison, maximum security prison, and site of a Native American uprising, enhanced with period photos, interviews, and first-hand accounts.

  4. Escape from Alcatraz - What’s more exciting than a prison break? Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin escaped from Alcatraz in 1962 and have never been caught. Many authorities are certain they died crossing San Francisco Bay. Relatives claim they made it to Brazil. The theories of what happened to them are endless. Find out the facts from people who dealt with the men and the case first-hand. This is one mystery you’ll definitely want to solve.

R Is For Rebel book
#10
R Is For Rebel
Written and illustrated by J. Anderson Coats
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-99

Princess Academy meets Megan Whalen Turner in this stunning novel about a girl who won’t let anything tame her spirit—not the government that conquered her people, and definitely not reform school!

Malley has led the constables on a merry chase across her once-peaceful country. With her parents in prison for their part in a failed resistance movement, the government wants to send her to a national school—but they’ll have to capture her first.

And capture her they do. Malley is carted off to be reformed as a proper subject of the conquering empire, reeducated, and made suitable for domestic service. That’s the government’s plan, anyway.

But Malley will not go down without a fight. She’s determined to rally her fellow students to form a rebellion of their own. The government can lock these girls up in reform school. Whether it can break them is another matter entirely…

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!