Anna Ciddor

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Anna Ciddor (born January 1957) is an Australian author and illustrator.

Ciddor is a patron for Oz Kids, an organisation to promote and support children's literary and artistic talents.[1]


Ciddor was born in January 1957 in Melbourne, Australia...[2] She was brought up in a house without television, and had an inventive and creative childhood.[3] She also had a strong interest in mathematics, and after finishing school, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in mathematics from the University of Melbourne and a Diploma of Education from Melbourne State College.[2] Her first career was as a senior school mathematics teacher, and it was only after marrying and having children that she began writing and illustrating.[3]

Her first book accepted for publication was a picture book,Take Me Back, published in 1988.[2] This book took the reader back in time to show how people lived in Australia in the past.[3][4] For the next few years, Ciddor continued to write and illustrate non-fiction books, concentrating on bringing history to life for children.[4] In 2002 Allen and Unwin published her first historical fantasy, Runestone, book 1 of Viking Magic. This children's novel, and the other Viking Magic books that followed, use historical details and strong storylines.[3][5]

In 2005 Ciddor was awarded a two year grant by the Literature Board of the Australia Council.[6]

Ciddor based her fantasy books on global folk, fairy tale, and myth[7] as well as research into historic lifestyle and belief systems.[8] At the Melbourne Writers Festival in 2007 Ciddor appeared on a panel with Sophie Masson and Kate Forsyth discussing the historical truth behind their fantasy novels.[9] In a study of Canadian children's fantasy, author K.V. Johansen included a chapter on Ciddor's Viking Magic books because 'Although not by a Canadian author, the Viking Magic series is noteworthy' and 'does more towards realistic historical fiction than many "time-travel to learn history" novels' [10]

In 2016 Ciddor changed to historical fiction with the release of The Family with Two Front Doors, published by Allen and Unwin.[11] It won a Notable Book Award from the Children's Book Council of Australia in March 2017.[12] The Family with Two Front Doors is based on interviews with the author's grandmother Nomi Rabinovitch, and tells the story of Nomi's childhood as the daughter of a rabbi in 1920s Lublin, Poland.[8][13][14] The writing style is inspired by Little House on the Prairie, presenting vignettes of the everyday life of a family.[8] The book combines historical fact and imagination but no fantasy elements.[13] According to a review by the Victorian Association for the Teaching of English, it is "an informative, gentle read' that "offers insight into how a Jewish household is run".[15] Unlike most books about the Jewish past, this one does not focus on the Holocaust and "there is... no violence and no hatred... but a charming reconstruction of daily routines".[16] Readings Bookstore, winners of the international Bookstore of the Year Award [17] described The Family with Two Front Doors as a modern counterpart to the classic book Little Women.[18] It was published in the USA by Kar-Ben, a division of Lerner Books in 2018,[19] and chosen as a Junior Library Guild Selection.[20] In 2019 it was translated into Polish as Dwoje drzwi i dziewięcioro dzieci and published in Poland by Mamania .

Ciddor's most recent book, 52 Mondays, was published by Allen and Unwin in 2019. It is a fictionalised account of Ciddor’s own childhood, filled with memories of Melbourne in the 1960s.[21]

Ciddor has written and illustrated over fifty books.[13]


  • 52 Mondays - shortlisted for the 2019 REAL Awards [22]
  • The Family with Two Front Doors - Notable Book, Children's Book Council of Australia 2017[12] and shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia Book Award 2017[23]
  • Night of the Fifth Moon - Notable Book, Children's Book Council of Australia 2008[24]
  • Two-year New Work Grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council 2005[6]
  • Runestone - Notable Book, Children's Book Council of Australia 2003[25]


Trade market books[edit]

  • Have Kids, Will Travel, 1995, Silver Gum Press, ISBN 1-875843-08-6
  • Going Places: The Kids’ Own Travel Book, 1995, Silver Gum Press, ISBN 1875843078
  • Unplugged: the bare facts on toilets through the ages, 1997, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 1864484543
  • Runestone the first book in the Viking Magic series, 2002, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 978-1-86508-689-7
  • Wolfspell the second book in the Viking Magic series, 2003, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 1741140137
  • Stormriders the third book in the Viking Magic series, 2004, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9781741143607
  • Prisoner of Quentaris, 2006, Lothian Books an imprint of Hachette, ISBN 0734408870
  • Night of the Fifth Moon, 2007, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9781741148145
  • 1000 Great Places to Travel with Kids in Australia, 2011, Explore Australia Publishing, a division of Hardie Grant, ISBN 9781741173406
  • The Family with Two Front Doors, 2016, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9781925266641, 2018, Kar-Ben ISBN 978-1-54150-011-2, 2019 as Dwoje drzwi i dziewięcioro dzieci, Mamania ISBN 9788365796974
  • 52 Mondays, 2019, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9781760523480

Selected education market books[edit]

  • Take Me Back, 1988, Lamont Books, ISBN 0949129437
  • Through Children's Eyes series, which comprises 6 titles: Early Colonial Times, Squatters, Goldfields,Victorian Era, First World War, Depression Times, 1995, Macmillan Education Australia, ISBN 0732921139
  • Australia in the Twentieth Century set of 11 volumes, 1998, Macmillan Education Australia, ISBN 0732953820
  • Mountain of Gold, 2001, Barrie Publishing, ISBN 1740654064
  • Federation: Changing Australia, 2001, Macmillan Education Australia, ISBN 0732966655


  1. ^ "OUR PATRONS". OzKids - Childrens Charity Network. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Who's Who of Australian Writers. D.W. Thorpe. 1991-01-01. ISBN 9780909532819.
  3. ^ a b c d Cohen, John (2003). "Anna Ciddor, Into the Past". Reading Time. The Children's Book Council of Australia. 47 – via Austlit.
  4. ^ a b Lavi, Tali (2016). "Know the author: Anna Ciddor" (PDF). Magpies. 31: 16–18. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-04-21. Retrieved 2017-03-19.
  5. ^ "Runestone/Wolfspell/Stormriders". LaTrobe University. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  6. ^ a b "Australia Council Annual Report 2005-6" (PDF).
  7. ^ Masson, Sophie (2016). "Mosaic and Cornucopia: Fairy Tale and Myth in Contemporary Australian YA Fantasy". Bookbird. 54 (3): 44–53. doi:10.1353/bkb.2016.0085.
  8. ^ a b c "Saturday March 19th - Book Families - 2SER - Real Radio 107.3 FM". Archived from the original on 2017-04-21. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  9. ^ Sullivan, Jane (29 August 2007). "Nix reveals there is a ring of truth to fantasy writing". The Age.
  10. ^ Johansen, K.V. (2007). Beyond Window Dressing? Canadian Children's Fantasy at the Millennium. Sybertooth. pp. 80–83. ISBN 9780968802458.
  11. ^ Koonse, Emma (2017). "Religion Book Deals". Publishers Weekly.
  12. ^ a b "Children's Book Council of Australia Notable list 2017".
  13. ^ a b c "Emotional literary journey to Poland". The Australian Jewish News. 2016-03-30. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  14. ^ "Reviews: The Other Mrs Walker, The Family With Two Front Doors". Stuff. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 2017-03-19.
  15. ^ "IDIOM - The Family with Two Front Doors". Victorian Association of Teachers of English. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  16. ^ Lees, Stella (16 March 2016). "The Family with Two Front Doors". Reading Time. The Children's Book Council of Australia.
  17. ^ Miller, Nick (2016-04-13). "Readings Carlton wins top bookstore prize at London Book Fair". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
  18. ^ "Children's classics paired with their modern counterparts by Leanne Hall". Retrieved 2017-03-19.
  19. ^ The Family with Two Front Doors.
  20. ^ "Junior Library Guild : The Family with Two Front Doors by Anna Ciddor". Retrieved 2019-08-18.
  21. ^ McEwen. "Books and Publishing".
  22. ^ Mem: 34942848. "REAL Awards 2019 shortlists announced | Books+Publishing". Retrieved 2019-08-18.
  23. ^ Inc., Advanced Solutions International. "Book of the Year". Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  24. ^ "Younger Readers" (PDF). Notable Australian Children's Books: 11. 2008.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "Notable Australian Children's Books" (PDF). The Children's Book Council of Australia. 2003. p. 14.[permanent dead link]

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