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No Vacancy

No Vacancy

by Tziporah Cohen


Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on August 4, 2020


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.

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 a Virgin Mary apparition at an abandoned drive-in theater. The Jewel instantly fills up with guests, including Anton, whose mother doesn’t seem to understand that using a wheelchair doesn’t mean he wants a miracle. Miriam must deal with feelings of guilt at having faked the apparition, and happiness at all the good things the new tourist site has brought to the community.

In the end, a shocking incident of anti-Semitism threatens her new home as well as the growing friendships within the Jewel’s diverse community. And unless Miriam finds a way to resolve all the hurt and fear, the No Vacancy sign will come down for good, and she will lose the life she’s worked so hard to build.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781773064109
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Publication date: 08/04/2020
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.00(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Tziporah (Tzippy) Cohen was born and raised in New York and spent eighteen years in Boston before landing in Canada, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, two cats and one dog.

Tzippy studied French and theater arts at Cornell University, where she was one of a handful of chimesmasters who performed concerts in the campus bell tower. Many years after graduating from Harvard Medical School, she received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She now splits her time between writing and working as an oncology/palliative care psychiatrist. Follow her on Twitter @tzippymfa.

Read an Excerpt

I watch the Shabbat candles flicker on the counter. At home, this is my favorite time of the week. But here, the candles feel like two eyes watching me, like they can tell what I did.

Kate told me about confession. She says some Catholics go every week, but her family goes once a year, around Easter. You go into a special room, like a closet, which is separated from another little room where Father Donovan sits, so they can hear each other but not see each other. It’s supposed to be private and you don’t have to say your name, but Kate says it’s a little town and for sure he recognizes her voice.

I explained to her about Yom Kippur, when Jews fast and pray in synagogue all day, thinking about the bad things they did the past year and what they need to do to be a better person. We’re supposed to ask forgiveness from the person we hurt. We don’t confess to the rabbi, though.

I asked Kate if faking a Virgin Mary apparition is a sin you’d have to confess at confession.

“Yep,” she said. “But luckily, Easter is nine months away.”