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Literary Collections Canadian

Little Yellow House

Finding Community in a Changing Neighbourhood

by (author) Carissa Halton

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2018
Canadian, Urban, Essays
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2018
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2018
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


“Ma’am, you sound like a very reasonable person. Can I advise you to just move?”

Carissa Halton and her young family move into a neighbourhood with a tough reputation. As they make their home in one of the oldest parts of the city, she reflects on the revitalization that is slowly changing the view from her little yellow house. While others worry about the area’s bad reputation, she heads out to meet her neighbours, and through them discovers the innate beauty of her community. Halton introduces us to a cast of diverse characters in her Alberta Avenue neighbourhood—including cat rescuers, tragic teens, art evangelists, and crime fighters—and invites us to consider the social and economic forces that shape and reshape our cities.

About the author

Carissa Halton writes from and lives with her family in an urban neighbourhood in Edmonton. People often ask, “Why do you live there?” Her answer was to write a book.

Carissa Halton's profile page


  • Short-listed, Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize

Editorial Reviews

"It's an illuminating and hopeful book that asks readers to think again about what makes places liveable, and also provides a wonderful glimpse of Jane Jacobs' proverbial sidewalk ballet."

49th Shelf

"Halton clearly delights in interacting with people from all walks of life; her interest and empathy sparkle throughout. Her tone is factual, nonjudgmental, and often wryly funny. Little Yellow House is a balanced presentation of a diverse community in transition, complete with faults and growing pains."

Foreword Review

# 1 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, October 19, 2018

"Great cities and neighbourhoods are containers for stories, just like this book is, and every one of these is delightfully readable and well-written right down to the sentence level. And Halton is not afraid of tension, of ambiguity and uncertainty, something living in the city teaches you, and so each of these stories is suspended in a careful place, not neatly packaged or simply concluded. Which gives their culmination the effect of a walk through a city street, of glimpses, moments, and changing scenes—a most satisfying and delightful excursion."

Kerry Clare, author of Mitzi Bytes

"This book is an excellent resource for communities wanting to create change. It can also be a starting point for discussion with students ... to focus on identifying Who are the vulnerable? Who gets to decide that they’re vulnerable? and What community-based solutions honour lifestyle choices? Little Yellow House shows readers there are ways of working and living together that really do respect diversity. I loved this book."

Alberta Views Magazine

"It’s books like this that remind us all… that community is more than about special events that happen once a year. It’s about connecting to people often and throughout the year. Doing so can and does result in some wonderful experiences." [Full article at]

St. Albert Gazette

# 2 on Calgary Herald's Non-Fiction Bestsellers list.

Calgary Herald

"In these stark and endearing personal essays, the author celebrates her life and lives fearlessly and fully with three children and a husband, despite a dystopian backdrop. Halton writes with humour, empathy, and spiritual maturity, and she doesn't judge the inner city world outside her yellow house."

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