The Umbrella House

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The Umbrella House

By Colleen Nelson
Juvenile Fiction for Ages 8–12
ISBN: 978-1-77278-279-0 (HC)
List Price: $23.95 CAD / $18.95 USD HC
Hardcover with dust jacket

Trim Size: 5.5 x 8 inches / 13.97 x 20.32 cm
Pages: 224

Publication date: June 6, 2023

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

Rights Available: World ex. North America

In this intimate and inspiring novel about the power of art and the value of community, award-winning author and former New Yorker Colleen Nelson brings life and liveliness to an eccentric cast of New York City neighbors.

Middle-schooler and New Yorker Ruby Markowski wants to tell the truth fearlessly and powerfully, just like her idols at Veracity News. She and her best friend Scout already make YouTube videos together about East Village life, so when Veracity News announces a Young Voices video competition, Ruby knows it’s the perfect opportunity to make a name for herself, if only she can find a story worth telling. When a real-estate mogul threatens to buy her historic East Village apartment building, Umbrella House, Ruby sets out to create a video about the people who live in her building, depicting their love for art, community, and family.

With time—and her options for saving Umbrella House—running out, Ruby finds herself caught up in the mystery of the Midnight Muralist, a famous East Village artist whose murals once made buildings famous and valuable. Could finding this enigmatic artist be the key to saving her historic East Village apartment building?

Awards and Honours: 

2023 Junior Library Guild Selection

2023 School Library JournalThese Protagonists Take Action | Read Woke” Feature

49th Shelf “Most Anticipated: Our Spring 2023 Books for Young Readers Preview” Feature


“Blending fact, fiction, social issues, and friendship, this novel ably highlights young people’s strengths….An uplifting account of creative kids working to preserve a city landmark.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Nelson, who has lived in New York, creates a cast of interesting characters with Umbrella House (a real place with a colorful history) and its neighborhood as the setting. A well-paced story with a satisfying conclusion.”—Booklist