Kirkus Reviews QR Code
IF I HAD A HAMMER by David Rubel


Building Homes and Hope with Habitat for Humanity

by David Rubel

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4701-8
Publisher: Candlewick

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. (afterword, index, “How to Get Involved”) (Nonfiction. 11-18)