Mona Golabek to Bring The Children of Willesden Lane to 50,000 Students, Educators in Texas

Mon, 01/23/2023 - 11:14am

USC Shoah Foundation partner and celebrated author, performer and concert pianist Mona Golabek this week brings her virtual, theatrical performance based on The Children of Willesden Lane book to 50,000 students and educators in Texas.

Premiering as part of Texas Holocaust Remembrance Week, the Willesden READS performance promises to be the largest Holocaust education event ever to be held in the state. The virtual program and accompanying live events this week in Texas was made possible with the generous support of the Morton H. Meyerson Family Foundation.

The Children of Willesden Lane is Golabek’s best-selling book about the power of music and how one teenage refugee, her mother Lisa Jura, held onto her dreams, survived the Holocaust and inspired a generation of her contemporaries. More than 43,000 books were donated to schools across Texas thanks to the Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation and Helen Zell.

"Leave it to the great state of Texas to step up and embrace the Willesden story as only Texas can, delivering the largest student participation of a Holocaust project ever,” Golabek said.

“The teachers and students know in their hearts that Holocaust education is more relevant today than ever before and that Lisa's story inspires us to come together around vital messages of hope and resilience.”

Lesly Culp, USC Shoah Foundation’s Interim Director of Education and Outreach, said the Texas READS events “are a great opportunity to engage students across Texas in learning about this history from the perspective of a personal story to broaden their perspective and deepen their critical thinking."

In advance of the livestream event, educators are invited to participate in professional development provided by Echoes & Reflections—a partnership of USC Shoah Foundation, ADL and Yad VaShem—to deepen understanding of the historical context of The Children of Willesden Lane books and to learn to incorporate The Willesden Project’s companion resources found in IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation’s educational website, into their teaching.

Inspired by the power of story, The Willesden Project, a program of USC Shoah Foundation and Hold On To Your Music Foundation with support from the Koret Foundation, combines testimony, technology, and music to reshape Holocaust education around the globe. Learn more at The Willesden Project

Watch this three-minute video to see how the program has reached students around the world.

Teachers in Texas can register here for the virtual performance: They will be able to watch the performance on-demand for one month following the January 25 premiere.