Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (#1)

Next: Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones (#2)

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

“The premise is intriguing.”


“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

“Readers will likely bond with the hapless Alcatraz immediately. Most librarians will appreciate the satiric teasing, and they will also see the strong appeal and easy-genre-crossing potential in this futuristic fantasy adventure.”

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (Univ. of Illinois)

“Genuinely funny […] plenty here to enjoy.”


“A happily action-packed romp, with just the right amount of repartee between Alcatraz and his cantankerous teenage protector Bastille, and a cliffhanger ending that promises more of the same. Plus dinosaurs in tweed vests. Who could ask for more?”

Horn Book

“ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS is a cute story that I enjoyed reading with my 13 year old daughter [...] Brandon Sanderson has a great sense of humor and I loved how he used the story to instruct children about writing techniques while amusing them at the same time.”

Fantasy Literature

“Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is a fun-filled adventure for young readers. The wildly imaginative Sanderson, who has written two fantasies for adults, includes such creative details […] Though kids will love his story, be sure to tell them it has no basis in fact–librarians could never be information-hoarding villains!”

“This clever book rushes through an adventure that resembles ALICE IN WONDERLAND in its oddness. Author Brandon Sanderson has pulled together almost everything that would appeal to readers of the Harry Potter series. I especially recommend ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS to fourth- and fifth-grade readers who enjoy peculiar adventures mixed with fantasy and a little sentimental reuniting of loved ones.”

“It just worked for me. It was funny. While it’s geared towards the middle-school boy crowd, I think there are a lot of adults who’ll get a huge kick out of it. Definitely try it on teen and tween fans of Artemis Fowl, Terry Pratchett and older fans of the Chet Gecko series. I am totally looking forward to the next one.”

Bookshelves of Doom

“This series debut is a weird and wonderful world that children (and the young at heart) who love silly humor and adventure will enjoy.”

Awards & Accolades


Featured on Nancy Pearl’s NPR Morning Show


Golden Sower 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”