No Vacancy

No Vacancy

Written by: Cohen, Tziporah
ages 9 to 12 / grades 4 to 7

With the help of her Catholic friend, an eleven-year-old Jewish girl creates a provocative local tourist attraction to save her family’s failing motel.

Buying and moving into the run-down Jewel Motor Inn in upstate New York wasn’t eleven-year-old Miriam Brockman’s dream, but at least it’s an adventure. Miriam befriends Kate, whose grandmother owns the diner next door, and finds comfort in the company of Maria, the motel’s housekeeper, and her Uncle Mordy, who comes to help out for the summer. She spends her free time helping Kate’s grandmother make her famous grape pies and begins to face her fears by taking swimming lessons in the motel’s pool.

But when it becomes clear that only a miracle is going to save the Jewel from bankruptcy, Jewish Miriam and Catholic Kate decide to create their own. Otherwise, the No Vacancy sign will come down for good, and Miriam will lose the life she’s worked so hard to build.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.6
Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.3
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3
Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.6
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

With the help of her Catholic friend, an eleven-year-old Jewish girl creates a provocative local tourist attraction to save her family’s failing motel.

Buying and moving into the run-down Jewel Motor Inn in upstate New York wasn’t eleven-year-old Miriam Brockman’s dream, but at least it’s an adventure. Miriam befriends Kate, whose grandmother owns the diner next door, and finds comfort in the company of Maria, the motel’s housekeeper, and her Uncle Mordy, who comes to help out for the summer. She spends her free time helping Kate’s grandmother make her famous grape pies and begins to face her fears by taking swimming lessons in the motel’s pool.

But when it becomes clear that only a miracle is going to save the Jewel from bankruptcy, Jewish Miriam and Catholic Kate decide to create their own. Otherwise, the No Vacancy sign will come down for good, and Miriam will lose the life she’s worked so hard to build.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.6
Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.3
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3
Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.6
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd - Sep 1, 2020
Specifications 224 pages | 5 in x 7.5 in
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Excerpt

Praise for Tziporah Cohen and No Vacancy:

Commended Sydney Taylor Book Award — Honor, 2021

Finalist National Jewish Book Award — Middle Grade Literature, 2020

Shortlist Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award — English Fiction, 2021-2022

“With effortless mastery, Cohen weaves the opposing forces of innocence and corruption, right and wrong, love and hate.” — Quill & Quire, starred review

“It’s wonderful when a book about miracles turns out to be one. And the miracle in No Vacancy above everything else is kindness.” — Tim Wynne-Jones, award-winning author

“Debut author Cohen displays a knack for storytelling that makes this a thoughtful, engrossing, funny read.” — Booklist

“A leisurely paced, character-rich tale of family, religious faith, and the human need for the miraculous. Strongly recommended for middle grade collections.” — School Library Journal

“This summer-in-a-small-town novel, with a mischief-based premise and an old-fashioned feel, includes plenty of exploration of how Miriam and her family fit into the larger community.” — Horn Book

“Miriam is a delight, both sarcastic and complex. … sensitive plot layers portray differences between types of Judaism, showing how people of different faiths, languages, ages, and backgrounds can have respectful and close relationships.” — Foreword Reviews

“It’s the connections between the characters that really made this story come alive.” — CM Review of Materials

“[A] simple story filled with memorable and sympathetic characters.” — Canadian Children’s Book News

“Miriam is an intelligent pre-teen with lots of worthy questions [and] the prose is easy to read” — Association of Jewish Libraries 

"Filled with thoughtful, masterful writing, No Vacancy offers readers a wonderful cast of characters, a chance to consider what is right or wrong, to look at differences with tender care and concern, and to look at racism as it exists in society." — Sal's Fiction Addiction Blog

“Cohen skillfully and with age appropriateness addresses the issues of bigotry, hatred, and small mindedness. … The sense of community that is created in this book is a refreshing difference to the hardness we have come to expect from the world. We can all learn a valuable lesson about how to treat others and that we are really not all that different!” — Books, Hot Tea and Me Blog

“This is a really fun novel of friendship, family, and adventure.” — MSL Book Review Blog

“[A] suspenseful and delightful little book.” — Katia Raina Blog

“The author intro­duces some dif­fi­cult top­ics, such as anti­semitism, in an engag­ing way for mid­dle grade audiences.” — Jewish Book Council