Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Children of Willesden Lane” as Want to Read:
The Children of Willesden Lane
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Children of Willesden Lane

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  717 ratings  ·  126 reviews
Based on the true story of her mother, Mona Golabek describes the inspirational story of Lisa Jura Golabek's escape from Nazi-controlled Austria to England on the famed Kindertransport. Jewish musical prodigy Lisa Jura has a wonderful life in Vienna. But when the Nazis start closing in on the city, life changes irreversibly. Although he has three daughters, Lisa's father i ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 31st 2007 by Time Warner International (first published May 25th 2002)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Children of Willesden Lane, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Children of Willesden Lane

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,589)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Linda Lipko
This is an incredible book! It is the story of the author's family and in particular her mother Lisa Jura.

Ten thousand Jewish children were transported from Europe to England in an attempt to rescue as many children as possible from the grips of the Nazi regime intent on destroyed this loving, peaceful culture.

As she systematically observes the treatment of her family and neighbors, time ticks away as day by day more and more physical and emotional assaults occur.

Fortunate enough to land a preci
The Children of Willesden Lane: Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love and Survival, by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen.

Lisa Jura was fourteen-years old and living in pre-World War II Vienna when her parents put her on a Kindertransport train leaving for England. Lisa was studying piano, and had hoped to become a concert pianist. Mona Golabek, her daughter, and author Lee Cohen bring us the story of Jura’s journey through the Kindertransport program, where she resided for six years at a
Anastasia Hobbet
This was a research-driven choice. I needed to learn more, as close to first-hand as possible, about the British Kindertransport on the eve of World War II, a truly heroic program that took in 10,000 Austrian and German kids, most of them Jewish, as Hitler was scooping up their families for shipment to the concentration camps. Most of the kids, needless to say, never saw their families again. I say 'heroic' because England opened its doors to refugees even as other western nations turned a blind ...more
The Children of Willesden Lane is a nonfiction story about Mona Colabek's mother Lisa Jura and her life growing up as a teenager in World War II. Lisa was a very talented pianist, but as Hitler invaded Vienna her love and talent for playing the piano was put to a slight stand by. Lisa's family only had one enough room in the Kindertrasport for one child so they decided to send Lisa to safety in London at a home on Willesden Lane, for children during the war.
The theme of this book is about findi
A lovely and moving account of a young 15-year old girl who was saved from the atrocities of Nazi-occupied Austria by her parent's heart-wrenching decision to send her to England via the Kindertransport. "The Children of Willesden Lane" is a testament of the power of music to heal a broken heart and the triumph of the human spirit.
This memoir follows a young girl and the parent's difficult decision to send one of their 3 children on the kinder transport at the beginning of the war. Lisa Jura, a gifted pianist, is sent to England from her beloved Vienna. What follows is the story of her 6 years in England. She tries desperately to get her younger sister to England. She must find a job and tries to continue playing the piano because her mother asked her to remember her music. Parts that I enjoyed were the resiliency of the ...more
Helene Slowik
I was introduced to this book through the musical play/presentation by Mona Golabek who tells the story of her mother's life during WWII. The book gives more information than the play (no surprise) and reinforces the isolation of the children who were sent to London for safety. Yet, the spirit and hope of the children shine as they support each other and celebrate with each other. The power of one Lisa's perseverance brings hope to others; yet the others reinforce Lisa as they first listen to he ...more
Ruby Tuesday
I just adored this book hence the five stars.

Lisa Jura was a Viennese Jew and a talented Pianist as a young teenager. Her world was turned upside down after Kristallnacht when she saw her father beaten and forced to scrub the streets whilst stripped naked. Her parents had the foresight to realised that the situation was getting worse and managed to secure one place for one of their three daughters on the Kindertransport which was a train carrying Jewish children to Britain and hence safety prior
Emma Gregory
I normally shy away from books regarding the holocaust as the visions of the monstrosities committed to human life stay with me for weeks afterwards. However this book was a sheer delight to read. Lisa Jura is sent to London from Vienna at the beginning of World War 2 with nothing but the music in her heart and soul that her mother has taught her. As Lisa survives the Blitz and becomes a famous concert pianist she learns to overcome the poverty of being a refugee and strives to make her families ...more
Hillary Peters
I read this book by English class. I really like this book, I don't know how to explain's touchy.
This is a true story, written by the daughter of the main character. Lisa Jura was on the kindertransport from Vienna to London during WWII. She survived and became a concert pianist despite (or because of) the war around her. Both of her daughters are also concert pianists, one of whom is the author of this book. I learned of the book from a friend who saw the daughter in concert, which included the story of her mother's life. It is a very touching story. I am awaiting arrival of a CD of the da ...more
This is a fascinating, nuanced, and beautifully written book. While it by no means represents the experiences of all the kindertransport children, it provides a detailed description of the journey of several. It also gives us a very different view of the British home front, adding a nice depth to the narrative. Despite being written by the protagonist's daughter, it doesn't pull any punches: Lisa's dedication to her music occasionally led to emotions and behaviors that could be read as selfishne ...more
Contrary to my past experiences flaking out on book groups, I've joined another book group. I went to the meeting last month and was able to fudge my way through, despite the fact that I hadn't read the book. I decided not to do that again, and read this one in advance of the next meeting.

I read the book in one evening. Suffice it to say, it's a quick and easy read. It is so heavy handed with themes of courage, fear, and survival that it seems a bit like a parable, though I know that isn't the a
This spectacular Memoir, is about a 14 year old, Lisa Jura whom is sent to London in order to stay alive.Lisa was living a normal life with her 2 sisters, her mom and her dad, until the Nazis attacked, and Jews rights were going down the drain. When this started, the Jewish people were given the choice to pay money, and buy there child a seat on a train going to London. Lisa was given this wonderful opportunity, and was ready to take on this adventure with her father's cousin in London. Until, s ...more
I gave 5 stars based solely on the story of Lisa Jura, a budding fourteen year old concert pianist, whose lessons are cut short solely because she is Jewish and living in Vienna. The year was 1938 and Nazi party controlled Austria. Lisa's parents must decide which of their three daughters they would send to the safety of England.

The memoir tells Lisa's story during the war. The resilience of these children who create family ties with each other and the woman who runs the hostel where they live
The other reviewers' reviews were spot on. It's difficult to think anything good came from Hitler and his annihilation of over six million people. This is one of the few positive stories I've read on WWII. The story unfolds as Lisa Jura is torn from her family in an effort to save her. She is one of 1000s of young children who were part of the Kindertransport, taking the young away from their families and sent to Britain during the early days of WWII. Lisa is a child prodigy, a learned piano pla ...more
Author Mona Golabek (and journalist Lee Cohen) tells her mother's story--A Jewish girl from Vienna, her parents got her a spot on a Kindertransport train. She spent WWII in London, living in a hostel of similar children. With the help of a Quaker neighbor, they found her younger sister a Quaker sponsor in northern England. Her mother had taken serious piano lessons, and manages to continue.

I pulled this book off of the adult nonfiction shelves at the library (biography section). As an adult biog
In this poignant memoir, Mona Golabek takes readers on an unforgettable journey through the life of her mother, Lisa Juda, during the terrifying years of World War II. Only fourteen and living in Vienna with her two sisters and parents, the import of Hitler’s regime becomes startlingly clear to Lisa when her piano teacher tells her that he can no longer teach her because she is Jewish. Kristallnacht occurs soon afterward, and Lisa’s parents know that it their home is no longer safe. They secure ...more
I learned a great deal about what families sacrificed to save their children during the Nazi fascist regime. I was absorbed in the book as I read about what the Kindertransport children lost, their new friendships, their hardships especially in London, and how they clung to what they loved to make it through a horribly difficult time in history. I greatly enjoyed everything I learned about these children and their life during World War II.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caroline Mcphail-Lambert
Enjoyed this book immensely.

Stories that show how humans can overcome and triumph despite insurmountable odds make my heart sing with hope for humanity. This is a delightful read for any readers interested in the power to overcome as well as family, history, WWII, music, piano, strength, resiliency, hope, courage and oh so much more that is positive about humanity will enjoy this sweet read.

Shed a few tears even as I knew the final outcome which shows the power of the story.

Read, weep, and enjo
An alternative look into the lives of World War 2 refugees. I never knew so many children from Austria were ripped from their parents and relocated to England. As the story progresses throughout the war and the main characters teenage years, you watch the character develop under the strenuous situations. This book stuck with me for a long while afterwards.
This story of the author's mother is beautifully inspiring. The "children" in the title would be more accurately called "teenagers," and the "house" is the refugee hostel in London that housed a group of the teens bravely sent by their parents out of the path of Hitler on the Kindertransport. As a parent, I can't imagine having to make that decision to save the lives of my children and to have the foresight to do it. But Lisa Jura's parents did put her on the train out of Vienna, saving her life ...more
Cori Allvey
Wow. Incredible story of people finding the best in each other and supporting one another through a very dark period of human history. Perseverance and determination prevail in this true story of a Jewish refugee. Tore through this book in record time. Sad but so gorgeous at the same time.
This is the book that the play at the Hartford Stage was based on. It is the story of Kindertransport, a girl from Vienna who is taken in by a group in London and makes her way in the world of music, playing the piano. The writing is not the best, but it is a good story!
Just when I think I've read all there is to know about the Holocaust, I'm once again surprised by another story and aspect I knew nothing about. The Kindertransport story was a really interesting piece of history coming out of World War II. The story of Lisa Jura and the other children of the hostel in London was uplifting and also heartbreaking. I would have liked to see the story fleshed out a bit more. It was a very quick read, and probably deserved more depth. Still a very worthwhile read th ...more
Pamela Pickering
Although this book is billed as a memoir I don't think I would describe it as such. It is more of a true life experience written in almost novel form. Even though I found the writing to be more for a young adult/early teen audience I still could not put this book down. The story is very heartwarming and it kept making my eyes tear up (not fun when you have a scratched eyeball). I had many things I needed to do but they seemed less important to me than what was going on in Lisa's life in London d ...more
I LOVED this book! It's a simply written biography of a young girl who is sent to England from Vienna to keep her safe from the Nazis at the beginnings of the war in Europe. She has a great talent as a pianst, and her story unfolds predictably, but beautifully as she is blessed with opportunities to excell. The friendships she forged during her years on Willesden Lane were well-developed. Written by Lisa Jura's daughter, one can really appreciate the emotion of living during such a difficult tim ...more
Judy M.
I so loved this book. I loved how music helped her overcome the sadness in her life. I am not a great musician, but I loved reading how she prepared to play every day as well as how she practiced. I was glad to see a happy ending.
Judy Steinfeldt
This is a true story and I was lucky enough to see and hear the author who is a gifted pianist perform this story with interludes of dramatic piano music. A must read and if ever you have a chance to catch the live performance go for it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 52 53 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Country of Ash: A Jewish Doctor in Poland, 1939-1945
  • Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism
  • They Dared Return: An Epic Story of Jewish Refugees Who Escaped Nazi Germany, But Returned for Vengeance
  • On the Eve: The Jews of Europe Before the Second World War
  • The Girls of Room 28: Friendship, Hope, and Survival in Theresienstadt
  • Few Eggs and No Oranges: The Diaries of Vere Hodgson 1940-45
  • Hannah Senesh, Her Life and Diary
  • Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir
  • Our Mothers' War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II
  • The Pages In Between: A Holocaust Legacy of Two Families, One Home
  • The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany
  • We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust
  • A Daughter's Tale: The Memoir of Winston and Clementine Churchill's Youngest Child
  • Conversations with Elie Wiesel
  • Gertruda's Oath: A Child, a Promise, and a Heroic Escape During World War II
  • Miriam's Kitchen
  • Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed
  • Tell No One Who You Are: The Hidden Childhood of Regine Miller
Children of Willesden Lane The children of Willendens The Children of Willesden Lane: Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival 3000 Degrees/Riding the Bus with My Sister/Cancer Schmancer/The Children of Willesden Lane/A Dog Year (Today's Best Nonfiction, Vol. 5, 2002)

Share This Book