Random House and Habitat for Humanity celebrate picture book collaboration with a home build in Newburgh, N.Y., on June 7th

“The Carpenter’s Gift” available nationwide Sept. 27, 2011, from Random House Books for Young Readers

NEW YORK CITY (June 7, 2011) – A young boy’s wish to live in a decent home and how that wish comes true one Christmas is the subject of a tale set for nationwide release Sept. 27, 2011, from Random House Books for Young Readers. Set in Depression-era New York, “The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree” is a beautiful and inspiring 48-page picture book written by David Rubel in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, with illustrations by Jim LaMarche (Rainbabies; Albert).

Each year Tishman Speyer, the owner and operator of Rockefeller Center, donates lumber from the tree to Habitat for Humanity. Since 2007, Habitat has used the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lumber to help build homes in Pascagoula, Miss.; New York City; and Stamford, Conn. The lumber from the 2010 tree will be used to build a home in New York state by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh. In honor of the publication of “The Carpenter’s Gift,” staff from Random House Children’s Books also will be helping to build a home in Newburgh, along with members of the media.

It’s 1931 and eight-year-old Henry and his father are selling Christmas trees in New York City. After they donate one of their trees to workers building Rockefeller Center, it is erected in the plaza and adorned with homemade decorations. Amazed by the tree, Henry wishes on it for a decent home, a wish that comes true when the workers help Henry’s family build a home for he and his parents live. To commemorate the act, Henry plants a pinecone and, years later, repays the kindness of the construction workers by donating the tree that grew from it to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. After the holiday season, the tree is milled into lumber and used to help build a home for another family in need.

“The Rockefeller Center Tree has come to be a universal holiday icon,” says Kate Klimo, Vice President and Publisher of the Random House/Golden Books Young Readers Group. “The story behind it serves to enrich the tree’s significance even as it extols the spiritual power of giving and lending a hand to those in need.”

Heidi Kilgras, editorial director at Random House, helps to build a Habitat home. Staff from Random House participated in a one-day build. Random House is publishing “The Carpenter’s Gift,” a children’s book about Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity International/Ezra Millstein

“We are excited about this touching story of a family in need of a decent home and those who come together to make that home a reality,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “This story was inspired by Tishman Speyer’s annual donation of lumber from the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to help build Habitat homes and by the caring communities who reach out to help their neighbors every day.”

“We’re very honored to host staff from Random House Children’s Books who will be releasing ‘The Carpenter’s Gift’ later this year,” said Cathy Collins, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh. “The touching story will help Habitat raise awareness about the critical need for affordable housing across the country. I’m excited they had the opportunity to work on the home where the 2010 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lumber will be used. We would like to thank Random House, Tishman Speyer and all of the volunteers who graciously donate their time and resources to help make the dream of owning a home a reality for working families.”

Random House Children’s Books is the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher. Creating books for toddlers through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books, novels, and ebooks, the imprints of Random House Children’s Books bring together award-winning authors and illustrators, world-famous franchise characters, and multimillion-copy series. The company’s website, kids@random (http://www.randomhouse.com/kids ) offers an array of activities, games and educational resources for children, teens, parents, and educators. Random House Children’s Books is a division of Random House, Inc., whose parent company is Bertelsmann AG, a leading international media company.

Read more: www.habitat.org/TheCarpentersGift

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, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 400,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than two million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit Habitat.org.

Tishman Speyer is the co-owner and manager of Rockefeller Center, the world-famous real estate, shopping and dining complex in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Rockefeller Center is the site of numerous public exhibits and events, including large-scale installations of public art by world-renowned artists including Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons and Jonathan Borofsky. Tishman Speyer has earned a worldwide reputation for innovative utilization of public art in its signature commercial properties, which include Rockefeller Center and Chrysler Center. Tishman Speyer is committed to the preservation and restoration of Rockefeller Center and the historic Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center, one of New York’s top attractions. Each day an estimated 350,000 people visit the Rockefeller Plaza complex, which during the holidays is home to the most famous Christmas Tree in the world.