Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (#1)

Next: Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones

On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry gets a bag of sand in the mail-his only inheritance from his father and mother. He soon learns that this is no ordinary bag of sand. It is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians who are taking over the world by spreading misinformation and suppressing truth. Alcatraz must stop them, using the only weapon he has: an incredible talent for breaking things.


“This is an excellent choice to read aloud to the whole family. It’s funny, exciting, and briskly paced. Best of all, the message it gives young readers is that a person’s flaws–being late, breaking things, etc.–can sometimes turn into useful talents.”


“Sanderson unexpectedly draws everything together in an extravagantly silly climax. Readers whose sense of humor runs toward the subversive will be instantly captivated. Like Lemony Snicket and superhero comics rolled into one (and then revved up on steroids), this nutty novel […] [is] also sure to win passionate fans.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Enough originality to engage fans of the Baudelaire children’s adventures as well as other tween readers with a taste for quirky stories.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“In this original, hysterical homage to fantasy literature, Sanderson’s first novel for youth recalls the best in Artemis Fowl and A Series of Unfortunate Events. The humor, although broad enough to engage preteens, is also sneakily aimed at adults. Readers are indeed tortured, with quirky, seemingly incompetent heroes; dastardly villains fond of torture; cars that drive themselves; nonstop action; and cliffhanger chapter endings. And as soon as they finish the last wickedly clever page, they will be standing in line for more from this seasoned author of such adult-marketed titles as Elantris.”


“The conventional trappings of the middle-school fantasy get turned upside down in this zany novel […] the adventures [are] engaging, as well as silly. Readers who prefer fantasy with plenty of humor should enjoy entering Alcatraz’s strange but amusing world.”

School Library Journal

“The twists are particularly amusing and inventive […] the characters are delightfully done and the balance of humor and adventure is managed exceedingly well.”

Critical Mass

Awards & Accolades


Featured on Nancy Pearl’s NPR Morning Show


Golden Sower Award Nominee


Nebraska’s Children’s Choice Book Award Nominee


Hawaii’s Nene Award Nominee


North Carolina’s Battle of the Books Nominee


Florida’s Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award Nominee


Book Sense: “Winter 2007-2008 Children’s Pick”


ALSC: 2012 “Notable Recordings for Children”