Ages: 8 - 12Producer: Hachette Audio


Heartbreaking but uplifting, The Children of Willesden Lane chronicles the true story of Jewish musical prodigy Lisa Jura, 14, whose parents send her away from their beloved home in Vienna, Austria, as Hitler’s armies begin to advance.

Sad and scared to be leaving her family behind, Lisa boards the Kindertransport train (which operated in the nine months before World War II helping get Jewish children to safety) and makes her way to England, only to find her relatives can’t take her,
Lisa is settled with 32 other refugee children at the Willesden Lane Orphanage.

Yearning for her sisters to join her in England, and missing her parents, Lisa finds one bright spot: a piano in the living room. As she plays moving concertos and sonatas, she finds solace, and hope for the future.

With encouragement from Mrs. Cohen who runs the orphanage, Lisa tries out for a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music. Will she be able to win a scholarship, enabling her to leave her job as a seamstress and devote herself to her music as her mother often petitioned?

Katherine Manners’ narration provides the right touch of sadness or hope with each twist and turn of the story, written by Mona Golabek about her mother’s life. Even without audio examples of the music referenced, the story of concert pianist Lisa Jura’s bravery, kindness and talent, will be inspiration to all who listen to it.

Ann Oldenburg ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and interim director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.