The Family with Two Front Doors


Meet the Rabinovitches: mischievous Yakov, bubbly Nomi, rebellious Miriam, solemn Shlomo, and seven more! Papa is a rabbi and the family’s 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.Family portrait

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. A book with a Jewish theme that is not about the Holocaust.



Polish edition
Polish edition


‘An infinite treasury of knowledge’ (Review of the Polish edition by Bajkochlonka)

‘For a small space in time, you are transported into the Rabinovitches’ household which is full of busyness, laughter, fluster, sacrifice, joy and dancing… It is a rare gem which I think every child should read and discover for themselves.’ (From Readers for Life blog)

’This work that has taken years to create, is not only a valuable historical portrait but is also a beautiful literary work.’ (Tali Lavi in Magpies Magazine July 2016)

‘It’s a bit like reading Little House on the Prairie set in Poland – plenty of careful detail inviting readers into the family’s life…This is a book full of charm – a reminder of the beauty of simple lives, and more profoundly of the importance of valuing individuals and families.’ (Kim Fulcher in

‘As a teacher I see the copious potential for this novel in an upper primary classroom. This is a novel that marries perfectly with aspects of the English and History curriculum and contains every feature a teacher would want for a class novel. An abundance of literary devices, a glossary with a wealth of vocabulary, emotional connections to characters, detailed descriptions of Jewish religion and culture, a showcase of family values and connections and an all-round beautifully written and enjoyable novel. This is a novel that has touched my heart and I know will touch the hearts of my students and will stay with them long after the conclusion of this book.’ (Bethany Harvey, Northlakes Public School, NSW )two doors illo

‘To take one’s own family history and turn it into a delightful, amusing and engaging story takes a real talent… offering us a superb chance to develop more cultural understandings… I highly recommend it to you.’ (Sue Warren, teacher-librarian on her blog)

‘Charming is a word that can only rarely be applied to a novel, but in re-creating the childhood of her late grandmother, Nomi, Anna Ciddor (author of Runestone) has produced an endearing picture of 1920s Jewish family life.’ (Trevor Agnew on

‘a story which absolutely captivated me….As we have come to expect from Anna Ciddor, the writing in ‘The Family with the Two Front Doors’ is sophisticated, multi-layered and utterly engaging. Told from both male and female viewpoints, this is a fascinating insight into the lives of Orthodox Jews in the 1920s, gender roles and food…’ (Megan Daley,

‘This is definitely a delightful piece of historical fiction!… It’s easy to read and cute and charming. I felt like I really learnt a lot about Jewish customs’ (Cait Grace on Goodreads)

‘It is a terrific tale that looks at Jewish life without even a hint of the holocaust, which is a nice change. It is certainly educational and will be used to show a very different culture to that understood by most Australian students.’ (Rob, Lamont Books)

‘I loved how the author told it like you were there, having fun with Yakov or Nomi and shared Adina’s feelings for the wedding…It is one of the best books I have read.’ (Sophia, age 10)

‘There is always something happening… you never get bored… A book for hoopanyone.’ (Lachlan, age 13)

‘A charming reconstruction’ (Stella Lees from Reading Time, published by the Children’s Book Council of Australia)

‘Food, clothes, jewellery, and family customs remain the main subject of this charming memoir along with the wonderful family bond that exists between parents and children. Their exuberance about life is infectious!’ (Julie Wells on ReadPlus)

‘If you loved Little Women by Louisa May Alcott…try The Family with Two Front Doors by Anna Ciddor’ (Leanne Hall from Readings bookstores)

‘Definitely a recommended read’ (Lindsay Mulholland, Historical Novel Society)

How to purchase

If you can’t find The Family with Two Front Doors in your bookstore, you can purchase a softcover, hardback or eBook version through various online suppliers – check some of these out here

Behind the story

This novel is based on the childhood of Anna Ciddor’s grandmother, Nomi, and all her brothers and sisters. Visit the Photo gallery to see pictures of the real family behind the story, and the research trip to Poland.

Read Chapter 1

Click here for Teachers’ Notes

Click here for a page to colour in