Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching The Children of Willesden Lane
Resources to help you teach the book in middle schools and high schools

About This Site


This Web site contains resources to help you teach the book The Children of Willesden Lane to middle and high school students. Teachers around the country have found that the story of Lisa Jura’s journey from Vienna to London, and from adolescence to adulthood, is ideal for inspiring young people across disciplines and grade levels. Lisa’s story helps students reach a deeper understanding of history and of themselves.

The resources on this site are intended to help you realize some of the following goals:

  • Bringing history to life for students through the story of the Kindertransport, the rescue operation that brought 10,000 children to safety in England on the eve of World War II.
  • Helping language arts students see their own questions of identity reflected in the true story of Lisa Jura.
  • Drawing on the classical music that plays a strong role in the book to build students’ understanding of Lisa’s life and world.
  • Fostering ethical discussions among students about historical responsibility, moral choices, and self-reliance.

For Teachers

  • Download a Curriculum Guide (PDF) with a wealth of lessons and activities for your students. Created by Facing History and Ourselves, with the Milken Family Foundation, the guide provides a flexible structure for examining the story of The Children of Willesden Lane and relating it to historical and current events. Your use of this Web site will be enhanced if you download and print a copy of the curriculum guide (titled “A Teacher’s Resource to The Children of Willesden Lane”) to have at hand.
  • Watch Classroom Videos that show how teachers in diverse schools are using the book and curriculum guide to connect students with history and to foster discussions about ethical choices. The classroom videos are geared to different parts of the book and curriculum guide (e.g., Pre-Reading, Chapters 1–3, Chapters 4–8, etc.) but can be used flexibly and viewed at any time. The videos highlight the challenges that can arise in teaching sensitive historical material, and how teachers can address these challenges. Click on the VoD icon to play the videos. Along with the videos you will find chapter synopses and related print, video, and Web resources.
  • Review the Historical Context for Lisa’s story—the rise of European antisemitism, Nazism, and the Kindertransport.

For Teachers and Students

  • Learn About the Author, Mona Golabek. This section contains a biography of Mona and her answers to many of the questions that students ask after reading The Children of Willesden Lane.
  • Show Meeting Mona Golabek, a video profile of the author.  Use these four short videos to help students get to know Mona. Find out why she wrote the book, get a glimpse of her life as a concert pianist and radio host, and see how she is carrying on her mother’s legacy. Click on [VoD] to play the videos. You may wish to print the discussion questions that are provided.
  • Show Music, Love, and Survival—A Special Performance by the Author. Use these six short videos with your students to bring Lisa’s story and the music she loved to life. Lisa’s daughter, Mona, dramatically tells her mother’s story and performs some of the music that was so important to Lisa. Click on [VoD] to play the videos. Printable discussion questions are provided for each section of the performance.
  • Download and play Musical Selections Related to the Book to give students a sense of the music that is so central to Lisa’s story. In these selections, Mona Golabek introduces and plays a portion of each piece featured in the book.

Technical Notes

To use the Teaching The Children of Willesden Lane Web site, we recommend the following:

Web Browser

To use the Web site, you'll need Netscape 4.7 (or a higher version) or Internet Explorer 5.0 (or a higher version). Javascript should be enabled. Text fonts and colors may not be displayed correctly in older browsers.


To print the curriculum guide you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader plug-in, which is available as a free download:
•   Adobe Acrobat Reader

Viewing Video on Demand

You can view the videos on this Web site with a broadband connection whenever you see this icon: Video on Demand. To hear the sound and see the picture, you should have Windows Media Player and DSL, a cable modem or a LAN connection to a T1 line or greater, and have Javascript enabled. Free sign-up is required for first-time users, except for the videos on the home page. For more information, please visit our broadband FAQ.

Purchasing DVDs

Annenberg Media offers this material on DVD, which can be ordered on this page. To view a complete list of the other programs Annenberg Media has made available, please visit this page.



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