Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Share Memories


        Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy -- hashtag #nfpb2020! Thanks to her hosting and sharing.  
       From others, too, who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for the following fabulous book!

          I've lived on a lake but in a neighborhood. And my family used to have a cabin in the woods but by a stream instead of a lake. That cabin was built by a park ranger and his family one summer. They had it for fourteen years, then my family bought it from them, and now we have sold it to a new family. Three owners make its history of changes and abandonment, then fun and good times back again. 
           My life stories make Thomas Harding's history of The House by the Lake so very poignant. His own great-grandfather, described as "a kind doctor and his cheery wife" are the ones who built the house, wanting a place away from "the busy city". That city was Berlin, Germany, and as is said, the rest is history. In his forward, Thomas Harding discovers through his search that the history of this same house was on the "frontlines of history".
            First published in the U.S. last month, Harding has researched and told this story again, this time in brief, poetic and poignant words. He traces the story from the impact of the Nazis in World War II to the way the house later ended up near the Berlin Wall when no one sailed across the lake. Finally, the wall came down and with it, freedom for the house that was then reconstructed so a family could again stay there and sail across the lake and build sandcastles by the shore. Britta Teckentrup’s beautiful, collaged illustrations appear muted, not quite gone but over-taken by shadows of years passing. 

         There is an afterword that tells more of each of the five owners, including the restoration of the house by Thomas Harding and the community. It has been renamed the Alexander Haus and reopened as a center for education and reconciliation.

        An interesting article in The Guardian can be found here, showing one picture of Harding in the actual house and sharing a bit more about its history. Harding wrote a memoir of the same title in 2015 about this house.

        It's a special book, may begin someone's interest in researching their own homes or apartments.

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