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The Carpenter's Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree
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The Carpenter's Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree

4.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  365 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2011)
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Lisa Vegan
Dec 12, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Christmas reading; anyone who’s enjoyed the Rockefeller Center tree or an inspirational story
Recommended to Lisa by: Abigail A.
Well, this one got me crying.

Wonderful book!

I have very fond memories of the Rockefeller Christmas tree. I arrived a couple days after Christmas in New Jersey/New York the year I was 5 and stayed until almost Christmas the next year when I was 6. Seeing the enormous tree and the skaters at Rockefeller Center were highlights of my times in Manhattan.

So, I was fascinated by this story and by the excellent author’s note in the back of the book. I was extremely touched by the circumstances surround
Dec 20, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kathryn by: Abigail and Lisa
I love this book so much! I wish I had time right now to give it an adequate review, but I already see so many glowing reviews online so I hope that my lack of a detailed one won't reflect negatively on the book. It is just wonderful! I love the heart of this book, the dedication is: “To those who give without looking back and those who receive without forgetting.” Just wonderful, especially around the holidays. I love how the boy and his father, whose family has hit hard times during the Great ...more
Lashaunda Brown
Oct 06, 2013 Lashaunda Brown rated it it was amazing
The Carpenter’s Gift
This is the story of a family who gets a new home from the Rockefeller workers

W6.3a Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.

Focus: Flashback as a style of writing
1. Discuss how authors use flashback as a means of sharing a meaningful event that occurred in the past
2. Read p.1 (where the flashback occurs- Henry, the speaker, recalls when hi
Nov 23, 2014 Patti rated it it was amazing
For my goodreads friends that have kids…

Among my All-Time Favorite ‘Spirit of Christmas’ books are: “Christmas Tapestry” by Patricia Polacco; “The Carpenter’s Gift” by David Rubel; and “The Light of Christmas” by Richard Paul Evans. All are priceless in terms of teaching beautifully that giving IS the true spirit of Christmas. And absolutely appropriate for ANY age that needs such an important reminder.

“The Carpenter’s Gift” is a heart-warming story about New York’s Rockefeller Center Christmas
Christina Fisher
Jul 24, 2014 Christina Fisher rated it really liked it
In this Christmas tale, a young boy and his father are selling Christmas trees in downtown New York during the Great Depression. As a "pay-it-forward" story plays out, eight year old Henry and his father give the construction workers building the Rockefeller Center a Christmas tree for their efforts, and are rewarded through a Habitat-for Humanity type gift, a new home to replace the shack they used to live in. Henry uses an original pinecone from the Rockefeller tree to plant his own Christmas ...more
Bvlmc Buchanan Verplanck Elementary School

Beautifully told, this tale depicts the spirit of Christmas, the generosity of those living through the Great Depression and how they seek to pass on that sense of community and continuity to those who struggle in the next generation. The story touches on how people struggled to earn any money during the depression, the construction projects such as Rockefeller Center that were undertaken during the Great Depression, the importance of a community pulling together and pooling resources to help on
Mirissa Holbrook
Jan 27, 2015 Mirissa Holbrook rated it it was amazing
The thing that I liked most about this story is that the title can be interpreted so many different ways. The boy's father gives a gift to a carpenter. The boy is given the gift of a hammer from the carpenter. The boy grows up to be a carpenter and gives the gift of a spruce tree to the people of New York City. More than that, though, because this story is about Christmas, it can also remind the reader about what Christmas is all about. It's about a carpenter who gave His life for the world, whi ...more
Jeff Johnson
Jan 23, 2015 Jeff Johnson rated it it was amazing
Beautiful Christmas story set in during The Great Depression that tells the story of a young boy from a poor farm family who grow Christmas trees. One of those trees becomes very special indeed and is selected to be The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. This wonderful book tells a great story about both the tradition of our wonderful Rockefeller Center tree and also the tree's vital role in supplying wood for Habitat For Humanity to use to build homes for families in need. Gentle, beautiful ill ...more
Linda Lipko
Dec 28, 2014 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
This is a must read during the holiday season. While factional, this is a tale inspired by the true story of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, this is a joy to behold. With wonderful, crisp illustrations of Jim LaMarche, the author weaves a lovely tale of a young boy whose father is, like ever so many during the depression era of the United States, down and out, out of work and unable to provide for his family.

When the father decides to chop down trees and haul them to New York City to sell
Dec 03, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
I decided to start a new tradition this year and wrap 25 christmas books and put them in a bin before December 1st. Starting on the 1st, we would pick a book each night, unwrap it and read for the month of December. I wanted a variety of books, some more traditional, some more jolly and others that show the spirit of the holiday. I looked up lists of favorite Christmas books and this one was on it. After reading the description, I knew I had to get it and have it be a part of my new tradition. T ...more
Jan 03, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing
A great picture book for elementary students during the Christmas season. The story does feature Christmas, but it is more about giving than about the holiday itself. Henry and his father borrow a truck to sell Christmas trees in New York. They sell a big one to the workers building the Rockefeller Center and the next day the workers come to help fix up their house. Henry grows up and moves away, but then returns to the simple house the workers ended up building. Henry had planted a tree next to ...more
Dec 02, 2012 Holly rated it really liked it
This is a story of Henry, and it's Christmas Eve, 1931. He and his father sell Christmas tree in Manhattan, and at the end of the day, they decide to give away the lefover ones to some construction workers. The workers have a party and decorate the tallest one, and it becomes the first Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree! Henry finds a pinecone on the ground, and he takes it as a keepsake in order to remember that magical day. The next day, on Christmas morning, the same workers come and help Henr ...more
Jul 28, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: edsl-520
Historical Fiction.
Themes- Christmas, Charity, Giving, Rockefellar Center Christmas Tree, Great Depression
Classroom Use- Read in a unit about the Great Depression and/or just before the winter holidays. Students can journal about how they would show their gratitude toward someone who helped to build them a home, or what their "Christmas wish" would be. As a class, organize a fundraiser or canned food drive for Habitat for Humanity.
Bethany Bennett
Jan 31, 2014 Bethany Bennett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: january-books
This book was so sweet and the historicalness behind it was super interesting. I had no idea that the wood from the Rockefeller Christmas tree was donated to Habitat for Humanity. And then how they put that into the story of a young boy learning about good deeds and helping the less fortunate. But not just giving them something but working with them to help them. That's what I thought was really cool about that book. It's a great teaching aid on charity.
Dec 09, 2014 Libby rated it it was amazing
A sweet story about strangers helping people they can see have a need. I love learning about how Christmas traditions are started, particularly ones that are about the true meaning of Christmas - service and love for our fellow men. I didn't know that the wood from the giant Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center is donated to Habitat for Humanity! Very cool :)
Nov 25, 2015 Maggie rated it really liked it
If you have ever been to Rockefeller Center and viewed the Christmas tree you will appreciate this book. Even if you haven't actually seen the tree in person you can appreciate this Christmas story. I love what David Rubel said in his dedication: To those who give without looking back and those who receive without forgetting. A great message for all.
Rebecca Murphy
Jan 29, 2015 Rebecca Murphy rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful story that teaches what wonderful things can come from loving and serving one another. Although this is set in the Christmas season, "The Carpenter's Gift" is great for sharing this message at any time. The images are as beautiful as the words, and from it all we can see that the best gifts truly are those we might not expect...
Madi Sharp
Jan 29, 2015 Madi Sharp rated it really liked it
I loved this Christmas story. It gave the message that giving is better than receiving, we need to be grateful for what we have, and that miracles do happen. There was such a cute storyline. The illustrations were great. I thought that David Rubel did an excellent job. Any child would love this book and learn from it.
Loryn Tindall
Jan 27, 2015 Loryn Tindall rated it really liked it
I love books with happy endings and with a theme of helping others. This cute story teaches what it is to help others in need, and goes along with the pay-it-forward message going around. It's a great reminder to help people. The story was well written and the illustrations were beautiful. The perfect Christmas book.
Jan 27, 2015 Andrea rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. It is extremely touching, as are most books from the Great Depression era. It is very well illustrated and the story was easy for me to connect to. It is also a Christmas book, and who doesn't love Christmas books!? I highly recommend it.
Jan 31, 2014 Brianna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-related
I really loved this book. The artwork was stunning and realistic. The storyline was inspiring. And the very thought that the trees used at the Rockefeller Center are used to help needy families build new homes is an amazing lesson for all of us that the Christmas spirit is about serving those in need.
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Dec 18, 2011 Randie D. Camp, M.S. rated it it was amazing
Henry's story is sure to touch many hearts. During the Great Depression, Henry and his parents were living in a little shack, struggling to keep warm. On Christmas Eve, Henry helped his dad cut down and sell Christmas trees in New York City. Henry helped some construction workers decorate one tree and he made a wish. That wish would come true. Many years pass and Henry returns back home, where he passes on the Christmas magic and helps others see their wishes come true. A heartwarming story made ...more
Jessica Harrison
Nov 22, 2011 Jessica Harrison rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, picture
Review via Cracking the Cover

Though fiction, “The Carpenter’s Gift” is inspired by Habitat for Humanity’s annual tradition of using donated lumber from the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. And in a time when many people are again without homes, it’s a sharp reminder of the impact charity and goodwill can have.

Though it covers a lot of material, “The Carpenter’s Gift” is an engaging tale that school-age children will enjoy and appreciate. The accompanying illustrations evoke a different time wh
Jan 31, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: january
This book would be such a great Christmas story. I love the meaning behind this story. It brings good memories of Christmas when I grew up. I think that children can connect to this story really well because they can relate to the kid in this story in some way.
Crysta Xue
Oct 08, 2014 Crysta Xue rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
This one really had me wondering if it was all real because it sounded like the history of the first Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center in New York. I really liked the hopeful feeling of this book.
Mar 08, 2016 Alena rated it liked it
Kindness, generosity, paying it forward, building a home, Habitat For Humanity, New York City, Manhattan, Rockefeller Center, historical fiction

Author's note is important
Melissa Martin
Jan 27, 2015 Melissa Martin rated it really liked it
This was such a good book with a magical message. To know of generosity and love and giving and service. This would be a great book to read to my kids at Christmas time.
Mar 25, 2015 Jec rated it it was amazing
this book deserves a 10 the story and illustrations are exquisite this is a book that i would love to read every christmas season a beautiful story
Liz Muehl
Sep 01, 2014 Liz Muehl rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story about human kindness and strong spirit. Also, a historical tale about how the Rockefeller Christmas tree came to be.
Feb 02, 2014 Crystal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: january
This book was fantastic! I loved the illustrations and I absolutely loved the story behind the illustrations. This book has such a sweet message and is so inspiring.
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David Rubel has made a career of bringing history alive for readers of all ages.

Recognized nationally as an author, speaker, and historian, David has written fifteen books and edited a dozen more during his twenty-five years in publishing. Most of these titles focus on making American history accessible to a broad audience. Working with many of the country’s finest historians—including Pulitzer P
More about David Rubel...

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