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The Carpenter’s Gift: A Moving Picture Book and a Charity Partnership

June 27, 2011

We’re publishing a lovely picture book called The Carpenter’s Gift this fall in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. The book, written by author  David Rubel, is beautifully illustrated by the renowned Jim La Marche. In it, a young boy whose family is down on their luck due to the Depression, is given the gift of a home built as a thoughtful act of charity. Many years later, as an old man, he is able to help return the favor for a family in need. The book’s message of helping others in need is both timely and based on Habitat for Humanity’s real-life work. This would make a wonderful holiday gift for a family or teacher.

One of the things we field sales reps miss most since we don’t live in NYC is the chance to participate in Random House’s volunteer projects. Recently, staff from our office worked with Habitat for Humanity at a home build, along with this book’s author. This guest post was brought to you by two women from our department who were along for the fun. Thank you to Sarah and Sara for sharing your experience with all of us!

Living in NYC can sometimes dull our sense of community spirit. After all, stealing a cab in the pouring rain might not seem so bad when the cost of dry cleaning and a new hair straightening treatment is going to set you back a lot more than the other guy. Regaining that sense of community, however, is precisely what RHCB did by sponsoring a Habitat for Humanity build in Newburgh, NY, on a sunny June Tuesday, to celebrate the upcoming Christmas book, The Carpenter’s Gift. Over forty Random Housers, along with the book’s author David Rubel, partnered with local volunteers to hammer, shovel, saw, replant, and take apart the interior of a house and its surrounding gardens and play area. Habitat for Humanity of Newburgh purchases dilapidated buildings and turns them into beautiful, new homes for families once living in unsafe or insubstantial places.

The build was particularly rewarding because not only did it allow us to work outdoors and bond with colleagues with whom we wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to interact, but it also reinforced how meaningful our everyday publishing work is. The Carpenter’s Gift is about a young boy living during the Great Depression. This boy experiences the gratifying effects of volunteerism as a child and is able to replicate the experience for another child later in life.

The story is reminiscent of another tree-related holiday title: Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. Growing up, every year in elementary school, the principal would sit everyone down to read this classic and then we would all decorate a tree outside as a gift to the animals. The Carpenter’s Gift is sure to be another holiday classic that has important values we can easily forget: the significance of giving and helping those in need. 

The Carpenter’s Gift is a touching story that captures the essence of Habitat for Humanity and promotes community and volunteerism in a way that makes us proud that RHCB chose to publish it. We might not work with shovels and hoes everyday, but the book demonstrates how spreading the same message can be achieved in a variety of ways. And as for community spirit, there’s always the chance our newfound pick-axing skills could lead to a Random House gardening committee!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 1, 2012 10:25 pm

    I’m curious if anyone can point out author David Rubel in the group picture above? Thanks.

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