Thursday, October 15, 2009

Review: If I Had a Hammer by David Rubel

President Jimmy Carter’s compelling anecdotes inspire a personal look at Habitat for Humanity that is sure to fire up a younger generation.

Somewhere 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 are former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn — and now this captivating account, abundantly illustrated with photos, relays their favorite 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.

Received from the publisher for review.

The introduction by Jimmy Carter contained this lovely quote about basic human rights:

By this I mean the right to have food to eat, a place to sleep at night, access to doctors and education, and a decent job, as well as self-respect and dignity.

Tom Gerdy had a lovely comment that really embodies the whole Habitat experience.

We'd had a great day, and I was standing on the ridge of the roof with the sun going down when it hit me. Here I was, a lapsed Catholic who now attends a United Methodist church, working on a home sponsored by a Jewish synagogue for a family of Baptists. At that moment, I realized that no matter what your vision of a supreme being may be, this is what he or she had in mind. We're all just supposed to join hands and do what's needed.

These fast facts about Habitat for Humanity from the book's press release were quite awe inspiring:
  • Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 300,000 houses around the world.
  • Habitat homes shelter more than 1.5 million people.
  • Habitat has built homes in more than 3,000 communities spread through more than 90 countries - including all 50 states of the United States.
  • A new Habitat home is completed somewhere in the world every 21 minutes.
This one gets four stars. It was a well written, fast read. The nice pictures of Habitat families and workers in the US and abroad really helped to bring faces to the stories. It was a nice introduction to Habitat for anyone who has been curious, but not known much about it before. There is also a helpful How to Get Involved section at the end of the book which may spark inspiration.

★★★★ = Really Liked It


Ryan G said...

What a wonderful and inspiring book. I've voluntered with Habitat for Humanity a few times and it is always a lot of fun.

etirv said...

What a great cause, one of Jimmy Carter's legacy and I've always admired him for Habitat for Humanity!

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