cover image My Life in Dioramas

My Life in Dioramas

Tara Altebrando, illus. by T.L. Bonaddio. Running Press, $14.95 (256p) ISBN 978

In a thoughtful story about making the best of unwanted change, 12-year-old Kate Marino adores her family’s Hudson Valley farmhouse, “Big Red,” and it’s inconceivable that her parents have decided to sell it with little explanation. Kate may not be able to stay at her current school or participate in an upcoming dance competition. Instead of sulking, Kate gets creative, making intricate shoebox dioramas to preserve her memories at Big Red while carrying out giggle-worthy schemes to drive away potential buyers, aided by her imaginative friend Naveen. But the realtor gets wise to Kate’s plots, and soon the house is on its way to being sold. Altebrando (The Battle of Darcy Lane) packs the pages with details about Big Red’s quirks and Kate’s memories growing up there, making it easy for readers to see how much it means to her. The financial and other pressures affecting Kate’s parents also register strongly, and Altebrando’s conclusion is hopeful and realistic without coming across as too pat. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: David Dunton, Harvey Klinger. (Apr.)