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.4.6Compare 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.5.3Compare 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.5.4Determine 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.5.6Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3Describe 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.6.6Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.