The Carpenter’s Gift

Author:  David Rubel
Illustrator: Jim LaMarche

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Henry and his out-of-work father have just finished a long day selling Christmas trees in Midtown Manhattan. Before heading home, they give away the last few trees to construction workers, who decorate the tallest one—the first Rockefeller Center tree! On Christmas morning, Henry awakes to a surprise. The workers have gathered outside his family’s drafty shack with enough lumber to build a simple, decent home. The gift of a hammer from one of the carpenters changes Henry’s life.

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With renewed hope for the future, young Henry plants a pine cone he has saved from the Rockefeller Center tree. Over his lifetime, the pine cone grows into a towering spruce. But the circle of giving is not yet complete….

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Written by children’s historian David Rubel in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, and illustrated by Jim LaMarche,The Carpenter’s Gift celebrates the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, an American tradition. Each year, the tree is milled into lumber that Habitat for Humanity uses to build a simple, decent home with a family in need.

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LaMarche conveys emotional resonance with gauzy, soft-hued paintings of the inspirational proceedings. An afterword highlights Rockefeller Center owner Tishman Speyer’s recent partnership with Habitat for Humanity, which earmarks the tree to be milled for lumber post-Christmas for a family in need.

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

The heartwarming tale told in The Carpenter’s Gift brings together—through beautiful illustrations and a moving, multigenerational story—two great traditions: the Rockefeller Center tree and the neighbor-helping-neighbor program of Habitat for Humanity.
—Jimmy Carter

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