This modern classic Christmas story teaches children the spirit of the season by bringing together two great New York City traditions: the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the neighbor-helping-neighbor program of Habitat for Humanity.
Opening in Depression-era New York City, The Carpenter's Gift tells the story of eight-year-old Henry and his father selling Christmas trees. They give a Christmas tree to construction workers building Rockefeller Center and celebrate together. Through the kindness of the construction workers and neighbors, Henry gets his wish for a nice, warm home to replace his family's drafty shack. He plants a pinecone from that first Rockefeller Center Tree. As an old man, Henry repays the gift by donating the enormous tree that has grown from that pinecone to become a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. After bringing joy to thousands as the Rockefeller Center tree, its wood will be used to build a home for another family in need.
Written by children's nonfiction author David Rubel in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity. Gorgeous illustrations crafted by Jim LaMarche.
"Rubel's story of compassion hits all the right holiday notes; LaMarche's lush, warm illustrations of glowing Christmas trees and smiling, caring characters drive home the central message of charity." --The Horn Book
About the Author
DAVID RUBEL is a nationally recognized author and speaker whose work focuses on making American history accessible to a broad audience. His most recent book, If I Had a Hammer, includes a foreward by former president Jimmy Carter. David's children's books, The Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times and The Scholastic Atlas of the United States have both become grade-school standards, selling more than half a million copies each in multiple editions.
JIM LAMARCHE has illustrated over 20 children's books, some of which he has also written. His lushly rendered illustrations appear in our recent release, The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye, by Jane Yolen. His work has been awarded the Parents magazine Best Book of the Year; the Irma S. and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Picture Books; and the American Bookseller Association Pick-of-the-List. He lives in central California with his wife and children.
Review, The Horn Book, November/December 2011 "Rubel’s story of compassion hits all the right holiday notes; LaMarche’s lush, warm illustrations of glowing Christmas trees and smiling, caring characters drive home the central message of charity."
Review, School Library Journal, October 1, 2011 "Detailed characterizations and a straightforward tone keep the tender tale from becoming saccharine. LaMarche’s almost impressionistic colored-pencil illustrations put readers in the midst of the action."
Review, Publishers Weekly, September 26, 2011 "Author/historian Rubel’s story of a Depression-era family’s connection to that first tree—and the ripple effect of its bounties—puts the now magnificent symbol in perspective. LaMarche conveys emotional resonance with gauzy, soft-hued paintings of the inspirational proceedings."
“The Carpenter’s Gift captures two of New York City’s greatest traditions ― the Rockefeller Center tree lighting and giving back to people in need― in a way that families can share together all year long.” ― Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York
“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 tree and the neighbor-helping-neighbor program of Habitat for Humanity.” —Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States and dedicated Habitat volunteer
“Through my support of Habitat for Humanity, I have seen all of the good that can happen when people work alongside each other to build something better. I see the same thread in The Carpenter’s Gift, a sweet story” about a young boy whose life is changed when new friends help his family build a house — Susan Sarandon, actress
“My dad was a carpenter who built the house we grew up in, and this book brings to mind his gentle nature and generosity.” — Garrison Keillor, storyteller