David Rubel - Author, Historian, Speaker
If I Had A Hammer book cover

Category: Children's
Publisher: Candlewick
Pages: 160
Publication Date: October 2009


< Previous Book | Next Book >



Nautilus Award Winner

2010 Nautilus Award Winner

If I Had a Hammer
Building Homes and Hope with Habitat for Humanity
By David Rubel
with an introduction by Jimmy Carter


Publisher’s Description
In West Virginia, a thirteen-year-old girl now invites friends home without embarrassment. In a Brazilian village, children no longer sleep beneath a table when the heavy rains come. For a quarter-century in over ninety countries, Habitat for Humanity has built homes with and for the people who need them, aided by more than a million multigenerational volunteers—two of the most devoted of whom are former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn.


Now this captivating account, abundantly illustrated with photos from around the world, relays some favorite Habitat stories with special resonance for young readers. Exploring everything from creative home design (like using window bars in India to keep out monkeys) to the emotional rewards of helping to build a house from the ground up, this is an essential resource for inspiring future youth volunteers.



This is an inspiring book, telling how ideas starting on a little farm in Georgia have grown to a worldwide movement bringing people together. How? Read it.
— Pete Seeger




Kirkus Reviews
An eloquent preface by Habitat for Humanity’s most prominent volunteer kicks off this moving introduction to a sampling of the other volunteers who have worked on and/or now live in some of the 300,000-plus homes the organization has built. Rubel traces Habitat’s history and describes how it typically first goes about selecting families to work with, then plans and constructs safe, sturdy homes—but it’s the stories of the people involved that make the most compelling reading, from President Carter’s first meeting with Habitat’s founder Millard Fuller (“I didn’t know who this nut from my hometown was, but my first impression was negative”) to Filipino washerwoman Emma Bocalan’s epiphanic “Look at my beautiful home!” and veteran volunteer Sherwood Kirk’s closing “I mean, they’re letting us build their home, and we’re getting so much more out of it than they are.” Sheaves of color photos featuring construction sites and joyful faces underscore the theme that giving people not “a handout but a hand up” is genuinely worthy work.