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?
About the author
An author and junior high school teacher who also enjoyed many years of teaching kindergarten, Colleen Nelson earned her Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba in her hometown of Winnipeg. Her previous works include the critically-acclaimed middle-grade novels Harvey Comes Home and Harvey Holds His Own; Sadia, which won the 2019 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award; and Blood Brothers, which was selected as the 2018 McNally Robinson Book of the Year for Young People. Colleen writes daily in between appearances at hockey rinks and soccer fields in support of her two sports-loving sons. The family’s West Highland Terrier Rosie adds an extra-loveable dose of liveliness, squirrel-chasing, and shoe-chewing to their lives.
- Commended, Junior Library Guild Selection
Praise for The Umbrella House
2023 Junior Library Guild Selection
2023 School Library Journal “These 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
Other titles by Colleen Nelson
See It, Dream It, Do It
How 25 people just like you found their dream jobs
If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It
How 25 inspiring individuals found their dream jobs
Harvey Takes the Lead
The Undercover Book List
The Life and Deaths of Frankie D.