“If I Had a Hammer” engages readers, ages 9 and up, in the life-changing stories of Habitat homeowner families and volunteers working to improve communities
Former President Jimmie Carter greets a young reader during the book signing for “If I Had a Hammer”, David Rubel’s compelling look at Habitat for Humanity’s mission and impact. In a foreword, Carter, notes that in Habitat's homebuilding work he and his wife, Rosalynn, have found a way “to put our faith into practice.”
ATLANTA (Oct. 15, 2009) – Today, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed copies of a new book for young readers published by Candlewick Press that tells the true-life stories of Habitat for Humanity volunteers and homeowners working to build simple, decent and affordable housing.
If I Had a Hammer: Building Homes and Hope with Habitat for Humanity by David Rubel, with a foreword by Carter and an afterword by Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford, is now available nationally wherever books are sold.
Fans, both young and young at heart, gathered for the book signing at The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum at The Carter Center in Atlanta.
Carter, who is often referred to as Habitat’s most famous volunteer, writes in the book’s foreword, “There is no question that helping to create a decent home for a partner family is a significant act of giving, but volunteers typically find that they receive something in return that is even more valuable: a feeling of satisfaction and a connection to other people. Knowing that you worked alongside other volunteers to change a family’s life is a powerful feeling that you will want to experience again and again.”
The 160-page hardcover book is divided into eight chapters featuring stories of Habitat homeowners and volunteers at build sites in the United States and around the world, and is stunningly illustrated with full-color photos. If I Had a Hammer also tells the story of Habitat’s early beginnings in rural Georgia and explores topics from interesting home design (like using window bars in India to keep monkeys out of houses) to the emotional rewards of helping to build a house from the ground up.
“We are immensely grateful to President Carter for his dedicated service and the inspiration he and Mrs. Carter have provided to volunteers,” said Reckford. “It is our hope that ‘If I Had A Hammer’ will inspire a new generation of volunteers to get involved and help create better and safer communities.”
Rubel, who authored the book, also has written the Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times, the Scholastic Atlas of the United States, and The Coming Free, a book for adults about the civil right movement. Rubel is a graduate of Columbia University and lives in Chatham, N.Y.
"At the heart of this book are the stories that people—homeowners, volunteers, staff— shared with me about their experiences with Habitat for Humanity and, in particular, the Carter Work Projects. I know these stories will move young readers, because they certainly moved me,” said Rubel.
"Candlewick Press is so proud to be the publisher of David Rubel’s fascinating and moving tribute to the extraordinary accomplishments, history, and people of Habitat for Humanity. We hope the book helps inspire volunteers of all ages for years to come,” said Karen Lotz, President and Publisher of Candlewick Press.
Visitors are treated to a colorful array of “If I Had a Hammer” on display prior to the book signing event at the Carter Center in Atlanta.
Habitat for Humanity’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project began in 1984 when the former president and former first lady led a work group to New York City to help renovate a six-story building with 19 families in need of decent, affordable shelter. Each year since, the Carters have given a week of their time—along with their construction skills—to build homes and raise awareness of the critical need for affordable housing. The Carter Work Project is held at a different location each year and attracts volunteers from around the world.
This year, from Nov. 15–20, 2009, Habitat’s Carter Work Project will take place in the Mekong region of Southeast Asia. Volunteers will build 166 homes in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and China.
To find out more about “If I Had A Hammer,” visit www.habitat.org/partnerships/media_entertainment/hammer.aspx  or www.candlewick.com  .
About Candlewick Press
Candlewick Press is an independent, employee-owned publisher based in Somerville, MA. Candlewick publishes outstanding children’s books for readers of all ages; including books by award-winning authors Kate DiCamillo, M. T. Anderson, and Laura Amy Schlitz; the widely acclaimed 'Ologies and Judy Moody series; and favorites such as the Where's Waldo and Maisy books. Candlewick's parent company is Walker Books Ltd., of London, England, with additional offices in Sydney, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.5 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org  .