The House By the Lake

Authored by Thomas Harding. Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup.

About the author

Thomas Harding is a journalist and nonfiction writer. His adult works include the bestselling Hans and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for Kommandant of Auschwitz. His adult book The House by the Lake was published in 2015 and tells how he uncovered the history of a Lake House owned by his family. His adult writing provides interesting background information for teachers.

About the illustrator

Britta Teckentrup was born in Hamburg in Germany, growing up in a town called Wuppertal. She lived in a house opposite a forest and remembers playing outside a lot with her friends.  In fact, she lived close to the actual house on the lake in this story. She read a lot as a child and used to draw pictures based on the characters in those stories.

About the book

The House by the Lake is a factual narrative based on the author’s experience and adult nonfiction book of the same name. It tells the story of one house through time starting just before the Second World War through to the present day. The narrative employs a traditional storytelling voice, reminiscent of a fairy tale, ‘A long time ago, there was a little wooden house by a lake.’  The author’s note and historical notes to place the story in a specific time and place.

The painterly illustrations add symbolic depth using light and dark, seasonal changes to emphasise mood and the changing fortunes of the house.

The House by the Lake is a book that can be read and appreciated by a wide age range. Some groups might prefer to focus on the narrative and the hopeful theme of reconciliation, others will be interested in the historical context. Reading the book in January will allow you to make connections with Holocaust Memorial Day which takes place on the 27th January and has the theme. ‘Be the Light in the Darkness’, a theme that ties in well with the aims of the Alexander Haus project (see weblink)