Family, friendship, and the spirit of giving are at the heart of this inspiring picture book. Opening in Depression-era New York, The Carpenter's Gift tells the story of eight-year-old Henry and his out-of-work father selling Christmas trees in Manhattan. They give one of their leftover trees to construction workers building Rockefeller Center. That tree becomes the first Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, the finest Henry has seen when adorned with homemade decorations. Henry wishes on the tree for a nice, warm house to replace his family's drafty, one-room shack. Through the kindness of new friends and old neighbors, Henry's wish is granted, and he plants a pinecone to commemorate the event. As an old man, Henry repays the gift by donating to Rockefeller Center the enormous tree that has grown from that pinecone. After bringing joy to thousands as a beautiful Christmas tree, its wood will be used to build a home for a family in need.
Written by children's nonfiction author David Rubel, in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, The Carpenter's Gift features charming, full-color illustrations by Jim LaMarche.
An essay about The Carpenter's Gift from Jimmy Carter, 39th
president of the United States and dedicated Habitat volunteer
As president of the United States, Jimmy Carter was deeply committed to social justice and basic human rights. Each year, he and his wife Rosalynn give a week of their time -- and their construction skills -- to build homes and raise awareness of the critical need for affordable housing.
Rosalynn and I were privileged in 2008 to help build the first Habitat home constructed with lumber from the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. That house, built with two-by-fours milled from Rockefeller Center's 75th annual Christmas tree, gave Tracey Davison and her four daughters a place to call home in Pascagoula, Mississippi, after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their former neighborhood.
The heartwarming tale told in The Carpenter's Gift brings together -- through beautiful illustrations and a moving, multi-generational story -- two great traditions: the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the neighbor-helping-neighbor program of Habitat for Humanity. The tree annually brightens the Christmas season for millions who see it; Habitat houses brighten the lives of families all over the world -- for those who live in them and those who help build them. -- Jimmy Carter
An essay about The Carpenter's Gift from Habitat for Humanity
CEO Jonathan Reckford
The story of The Carpenter's Gift celebrates the magic of an American icon, the annual Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center. Each year, the tree is milled into lumber that Habitat for Humanity volunteers use to help build homes with families in need of housing, like the one in The Carpenter's Gift. Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford shares his thoughts on the book.
After reading the simple but powerful tale of hope and kindness in The Carpenter's Gift, I couldn't help but think of loved ones who have shown me the importance of thinking of others. Acts of kindness and community inspire young Henry to give back. I, too, have been influenced by the example of people in my...