The Carpenter's Gift

The Carpenter's Gift

A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree

By David Rubel; Jim LaMarche (Illustrator)

Random House Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780375869228, 40pp.

Publication Date: September 27, 2011


This new classic Christmas gift book "brings together two great 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. 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.

About the Author
David Rubel is the author of the Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times and the Scholastic Atlas of the United States. He lives in Chatham, New York.

Tony Johnston is the award-winning author of more than 100 beloved children's books. She lives with her family in San Marino, California, where she grew up.

Praise For The Carpenter's Gift

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