Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Willseden Lane

Golabek, Mona , Cohen, Lee, and Robbins, Sarah J. (Adapted by)
Lisa of Willesden Lane: A True Story of Music and Survival During World War II
January 12th 2021 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus 

Lisa Jura lived with her parents in Austria, and saw how things were continually worsening for Jewish citizens under the Nazis. She had to stop taking piano lessons, her tailor father lost many customers, and the family lived through Kristallnacht. Her parents, concerned for their daughters, want to send them away, but can only send Lisa. She heads toward London, and hopes that a cousin and his wife can take her in. When they can't, she ends up in a hostel on Willesden Lane where British citizens try to help Jewish children get jobs and schooling. At first, Lisa is sent to be a maid to a family with young children, and eventually works as a lady's maid. When her mistress won't agree to try to bring Lisa's younger sister over, Lisa returns to London, where she hopes to be able to play piano, since she is quite a good musician. She ends up sewing, but eventually is able to try out for a music school and is accepted. As the war rages on, she worries for her sisters and her parents, and her younger sister manages to make it over on the last Kinderstransport. In the aftermath, Lisa continues to pursue her music as her mother had wished her to do, and has some happy reunions, but also some tragic losses. 
Strengths: This is a novelization of the author's mother's life, and has a lot of good personal details about what it was like to live through this challenging time. The music threads through the story in a very powerful way, especially knowing that both Lisa Jura and Mona Golabek both because professional pianists. The illustrations make this more appealing to a younger audience. 
Weaknesses: This just didn't have as much detail as the unadapted version. 
What I really think: I vastly preferred the 2007 version of this, although this adapted version would be good for elementary schools. It had so many more interesting details, like Lisa throwing away cloth diapers when working as a maid instead of washing them, as well as more information in general. I don't know how I missed this novelized memoir in 2007 and wish I had gotten a copy in hard back. 

Golabek, Mona , Cohen, Lee, and Robbins, Sarah J. (Adapted by)
Lisa of Willesden Lane: A True Story of Music and Survival During World War II
Published July 31st 2007 by Grand Central Publishing 
Ohio Digital Library Copy

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