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Recommended for 8-12
The Family with Two Front Doors

by Anna Ciddor
March 2016 | Allen & Unwin | $14.99pb

The Rabinovitch family lives on the second floor of a block of flats in 1920’s Lublin, Poland. Altogether, there are nine children and two adults – a huge family by today’s standards - and they must rent two apartments to house everyone, hence the book’s initially enigmatic title.

Papa, the head of the family, is a Rabbi, a man others come to for advice and wisdom. Mama looks after her nine children and, as the wife of a Rabbi, has many community-based jobs which she shares with her daughters. They are a warm and loving group of many different personalities. The family's story is told from the perspective of 10-year-old Nomi, the author’s own grandmother.

One Thursday evening Papa waves a letter in the air: the matchmaker has found 15-year-old Adina a suitable young man for marriage. Everyone is excited – will Adina be accepted by his family?

As the arrangements for the marriage get underway, life goes on as normal in Nomi’s household. There are rituals to perform, things that need making and, most importantly, there is the food. The passages in which Nomi is cooking with Mama in her kitchen are magic. Nomi is an endearing, bubbly character, full of empathy and crafty solutions to family problems!

Essentially this is a story about Jewish life between the wars. It is a happy, sometimes funny and always engaging tale of family and love in a now distant time. The Family With The Two Front Doors is a very special book by one of our favourite local authors and is perfect for readers of 8-12.

BiP staff review by Lucinda


We have a limited amount of signed copies.

Please get in touch if you would like us to reserve one for you.

Where do you get your ideas?

As a child, I always wondered how people lived in 'the olden days'. How did they go to the toilet? How did they cook? What underwear did they wear?  I was disappointed when history lessons at school only taught me dry facts about kings, queens and wars. So I did research on my own, devouring anything I could find about life in the past, and the first books I created were filled with the fun stuff about history I didn't learn at school.