The Family With Two Front Doors
This warm and engaging story, inspired by the author's own family, offers a glimpse into a life rich with tradition, celebration and love.
Meet the Rabinovitches: mischievous Yakov, bubbly Nomi, rebellious Miriam, solemn Shlomo, and seven more! Papa is a rabbi and their days are full of intriguing rituals and adventures. But the biggest adventure of all is when big sister Adina is told she is to be married at the age of fifteen - to someone she has never met.
Based on the author's real family, the Rabinovitches dance, laugh and cook their way through an extraordinary life in 1920s Poland.
In the classic tradition, this highly readable story is fascinating, engaging and as warm as freshly baked bread.
The Family With Two Front Doors
Anna Ciddor has made her name as a versatile writer and illustrator of fiction, travel and historical books for primary school children and older readers. Her Viking Magic historical fantasy series has earned her fans throughout the world.
Allen and Unwin
Author: Anna Ciddor
Interview with Anna Ciddor
Question: What inspired the story of The Family With Two Front Doors?
Anna Ciddor: The Family with Two Front Doors was inspired by my grandmother's tales of her childhood. While I was growing up, Nana never mentioned the past because there were so many tragic memories associated with the war years. However, when I realised she was reaching the end of her life, I finally asked about her childhood and discovered a fascinating, happy world I had never known about. Before the war her family led a colourful life filled with traditions, celebrations and laughter. Nana Nomi was one of nine children. In the 1920s they lived in Lublin, Poland. Their father was a rabbi and they had to rent two apartments to fit them all in (hence the two front doors). Nana told me about Thursday afternoons when the front doors were thrown open and all the beggars of the neighbourhood were invited inside for a bite to eat, about making loaves of plaited challah bread for Friday nights, and about her older sister getting married – at the age of fifteen – to someone she had never met! These scenes came alive in my head and I knew that one day I would turn them into a book.
Question: What was the best thing about creating the Rabinovitches' characters?
Anna Ciddor: Although there is no mention in the story of war or the Holocaust, I was aware that when the Rabinovitch children grew up, many of them would perish in the Holocaust. Therefore the best thing about creating their characters was the knowledge that I was bringing back to life several people whose own real lives were cut short. One of my aims in writing the book was to give them a chance to live on forever.
Question: How were the characters based on your own family?
Anna Ciddor: Ten-year-old Nomi in the story is my Nana Nomi, and all of the other characters are her real brothers, sisters, and parents. When Nana talked about her family, her anecdotes revealed glimpses of their individual characters and I used these hints to build up their characters for the book. She mentioned how her little brother Yakov used to sneaked off to watch the blacksmith instead of learning his prayers, so I turned him into a mischievous, inquisitive little boy. Because there were nine children in the family, my challenge as a writer was to make each character strong and distinct so readers could tell them apart!
Question: What do you hope readers take from The Family With Two Front Doors?
Anna Ciddor: I hope that The Family with Two Front Doors will go a small way towards showing that people from different cultures who seem to have strange customs and lifestyles are really just the same as ourselves.
Question: What inspired your love of writing?
Anna Ciddor: I grew up in a house without television. My sisters and I were always creating our own imaginary worlds, acting plays, and writing and illustrating stories. I can't remember a time when I wasn't a writer!
Interview by Brooke Hunter