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The Children of Willesden Lane: A True Story of Hope and Survival During World War II (Young Readers Edition) Paperback – March 28, 2017
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From Publishers Weekly
One of 10,000 Jewish children sent to England by fearful parents at the dawn of WWII, aspiring pianist Lisa Jura was 14 when her family put her on a Kindertransport train in Vienna. In this alternately heart-wrenching and uplifting story, Jura's daughter, Golabek, a pianist, and writer Cohen trace the six years Jura spent in London, where she found surrogate families in the 31 other young refugees at the Willesden Lane hostel, and in the working-class British women at the East End garment factory that employed her. The authors beautifully capture Jura's passion for music and her determination to realize her dream of becoming a concert pianist. Her quest to win a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music seems to inject hope into everyone with whom she comes into contact: the hostel owner provides her with a piano and practice time, her housemates band together to drill her on technique and theory, and a co-worker makes her an audition outfit. Yet this is no Babes in Arms. Jura's struggle to hold herself together on the trip to England and as she makes a life for herself without the guidance of her beloved mother is as bleak as her musical successes are joyful. And the depictions of V-Day are especially vivid: rather than celebrate with the masses, Jura retreats to the hostel. The war may be over, but for her and her fellow young refugees waiting to learn the fate of their families, the tragedy will continue.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A tale of one young woman's courage ... hopeful, personal, and true."―Los Angeles Times
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Top customer reviews
They tell the heartfelt story of their mother Lisa Jura, based entirely on true stories and real people. Jura's family sent her to England as a young child on the Kindertransport, in hopes that she could use her brilliant talent as a pianist to make a life for herself. She had to leave her parents, sisters, friends, and neighbors behind. But despite her fears, loneliness, and confusion (why would the Nazis do this?), Lisa Jura always found a way to be thankful, polite, and appreciative of the good things in life.
This is more than just a survival story; it's a story about how she and the other Jewish children refugees found ways to make their lives rich and meaningful in times when life didn't seem to make sense.
This is a quick read -- in one sitting in case you get addicted, and can't put it down! -- and very uplifting. It reminds you to be thankful for what you've got, and not brood on what could have or would have been. It is not a depressing book, but it will bring tears to your eyes!
I shared this book with family and friends, and everyone loves it so much that they've asked to buy their own copies. ***** FIVE STARS
Lisa's determination is inspiring as she struggles to keep a promise made to her mother to continue her music studies. The lives of her closest friends in the refugee orphanage are also hinted at. They all served as a substitute family in place of the ones they left behind.
I give it four stars instead of five only because the story is told second-hand. The author, Maya Golabek, is Lisa's daughter. She does a fine job of evoking the time and place and covering the major points of her mother's life. Still, it's always preferable to get such a story firsthand. But overall, this was an excellent book.