Friday, 10 May 2019

The Children of Willesden Lane by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen



2017, Teen, Key Stage 3, ages 10-13, lower secondary, Holocaust 

There are so many different ways in which people survived the Holocaust.   This one at first resembles my own book written for a similar audience: a young girl leave on the Kindertransport, she and her companions have to take care of a baby, someone is seasick , someone is determined to keep up with their music and the mentor is called Mrs Cohen.  It too is based on a true story.  
  
Then it is different. The protagonist, Lisa Jura, opts to remain amongst other Jews though she is treated well by her English employers.   

Lisa does well with her music. She is reconciled with both of her sisters but her parents are never found.   

Many stories about the Holocaust span several years so it can be difficult to identify the target reader. This one is about right; it will be readable to teens in the lower half of secondary school and this is precisely when the Holocaust comes on to the curriculum. The text would be very readable by slightly younger children but perhaps the inclusion of a love interest and the Holocaust may prevent this.

Even though the text covers a long period of time it remains engaging with plenty of dialogue and action. We do get to know Lisa quite well. 

This is published by a long established publisher, W Franklin Watts, so its ragged right formatting and rather large indents at the beginning of each paragraph may surprise us. It is double-spaced but uses an adult font.        

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