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

Chapters 9–12

Synopsis:
A Refugee in Wartime

Although Lisa now has a job in a garment factory, she has not forgotten her dream, her music, or her family. The little news that she receives from home is terrifying, and Lisa works tirelessly to bring her younger sister Sonia to Britain.

When Lisa returns from work one day, she approaches the piano in the house on Willesden Lane and quickly loses herself in her music. As the others arrive home from work or school, her playing charms them. Before long, the piano becomes a lifeline for Lisa, and the music she produces with it is an inspiration to the other residents.

Lisa continues to seek a sponsor for Sonia by going from house to house asking for help. Her efforts pay off when Mrs. Canfield, a neighbor, offers to find a sponsor for Sonia. Two days later, Sonia officially has a place to stay in the north of England and a seat on what is to be the last Kindertransport from Austria before World War II begins in Europe. The sisters have only a brief time together before Sonia is shipped to the family that sponsored her.

On September 2, 1939, Lisa and the other children of Willesden Lane huddle around the radio to listen as Prime Minister Winston Churchill declares war on Germany. Before the fighting begins in earnest, Mrs. Cohen’s son Hans arrives. Lisa quickly finds that he shares her love of music.

Synopsis text from the curriculum guide, created by Facing History and Ourselves and the Milken Family Foundation, pg. 29.

Lisa and her younger sister Sonia

Lisa and her younger sister Sonia, shortly
after Sonia arrived in England on a Kindertransport in 1939.

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