‘Families like me’

By Devon Smith, whose Habitat for Humanity home includes part of a Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree




Devon Smith marvels at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree each December when he and his mom visit historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a Christmas service. “We do it every year,” 9-year-old Devon says. “The tree is so big, and the church is really big. We go inside to pray for the next year that’s coming.”

Devon has a strong connection with the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree at the heart of the new children’s book, The Carpenter’s Gift. Two years ago, he and his mom moved into their new home inside a Habitat-built condominium complex in Brooklyn. Lumber from the 2008 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was used in each unit.

“My favorite part [of The Carpenter’s Gift] is when Henry plants the pinecone that becomes a Christmas Tree,” Devon says. “I haven’t planted a tree before, but I’ve planted flowers and foods in the garden we have at school. I like watching things grow.”

Here is Devon’s review of The Carpenter’s Gift.

Transcript follows.



The Carpenter’s Gift

This story is about a little boy named Henry and his family. They did not have muck money so one day Henry’s dad borrowed a truck and took Henry with him to cut down spruce trees so they could sell them as Christmas trees and have money to warm the shack they lived in and buy blankets.

Henry and his dad park in Midtown Manhattan near a construction site. They sold a lot of trees and made enough money. Before they left they gave Christmas trees to the construction works. Henry’s dad talked with one of the construction works named Frank and told him about the families hard times while they had a party. Henry made a special wish before he went home and picked up a pinecone to take with him.

The next morning Henry’s wish began to come true. Frank and the other men came to build him the warm house he wished for. Henry got his first hammer to help them build and he planted his pinecone. He kept his hammer as he got older and the tree grew taller and taller.

One day a man from Rockefeller Center came by and asked if they could have his tree to use as their Christmas tree. That is the same place where Henry and his dad sold the tree’s and found the pincone and met Frank and the other men that helped his family many years ago. So Henry said yes.

Rockefeller Center always picks a tree for Christmas and Habitat for Humanity makes homes out of the wood for families like me.

Devon Smith