by Graff, Lisa

While playing hockey, twelve-year-old Jared Richards was hit in the chest with a hockey puck, triggering the rare heart condition that killed him. Since then, his ten-year-old sister Annie has become obsessed with safety wearing her bicycle helmet everywhere she goes, covering herself with Band-Aids before she needs them, and avoiding fun but risky activities like bicycle races and obstacle courses.

She even steals her neighbor's book about illness prevention, from which she learns about such ailments as African Sleeping Sickness, Ebola, and Typhoid Fever. Everyone keeps telling Annie not to worry so much, that she is perfectly healthy, but soon every itch, cough, or discomfort causes Annie to suspect she has contracted one of the many diseases she has read about. Concerned about her daughter's new reading habits, Annie's mother confiscates the book about illnesses, leaving Annie to falsely believe that her mother does not care about her well-being. In fact, since her father has become increasingly absent-minded, it seems to Annie that neither of her parents cares about her anymore.

And to make matters worse, Jared's birthday is approaching and Annie has no idea how to celebrate it this year especially since her parents refuse to talk about Jared. When Annie fails to show sympathy for the death of her best friend Rebecca's pet, Rebecca ends their friendship, leaving Annie feeling even more confused and alone. Luckily, Annie's new neighbor Mrs. Finch, a kind and clever old woman whose husband recently died, knows something about life's hardships. Finally, Annie has found an adult she can talk to about Jared. Mrs. Finch helps Annie realize that all of her worrying has prevented her from not only experiencing life's joys, but also from remembering the good things about her brother.

Annie's worrying has been the umbrella she carries around with her, rain or shine, but with the help of a classic children's book, a very special collection of healing tea, and a batch of chocolate chip cookies, Mrs. Finch will help Annie find a way to close her umbrella of sadness and step back into the sunshine. And Annie will do the same for Mrs. Finch.

Lisa Graff is the author of The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflowerand The Thing About Georgie.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Annelie Geissler

Available View on Rightsdesk



This beautifully written, poignant middle-grade novel offers an unforgettable heroine, a charming small-town setting and a compassionate portrait of a family frozen in grief while going through the motions of getting by. Thanks to Graff’s realistic depiction of childhood summers, games and friendships, her book is touching and also very funny... This is a book that stays with you.

Review: The Buffalo News

With the same deftness she demonstrated in The Thing About Georgie, Graff immediately engages the reader with the main character... [Annie's] healing comes slowly, helped along by understanding friends and a close-knit community of complex, concerned (but never cloying) characters. Expect tears, but also expect to cheer for Annie's recovery as she gradually learns to honor Jared's life and care for her own.

Review: The Horn Book

Umbrella Summer is a radiant book.

Quote: Kirby Larson

Graff has created a lively, quirky individual who tells her story with frankness and humor... Annie's story deals with death with sensitivity, love, and understanding.

Review: School Library Journal

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