As her older brother's schizophrenia worsens, 12-year-old Pia's world also begins to fragment. Raised by her mother, Pia secretly writes her Italian father, but when she goes to Italy to meet him, she learns unsettling things about his family. Her longtime best friend seems to be moving on, and her mother's new boyfriend wants to become her stepfather. In the midst of the confusion, Pia, a budding artist, draws a haunting self-portrait, and over the course of this crowded story also reimagines the picture of her family. The author and illustrator of many picture books, Russo here paints with words, emphasizing the shapes and colors of Queens and the East Village, Rome and Florence. She lingers over the details of Pia's work--including the choice of gel pen. Relationships are portrayed clearly, and the school scenes are believable. Middle-school girls will find it easy to relate to Pia's uncertainties as well as to her solutions. Kathleen IsaacsCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
MARISABINA RUSSO has written and illustrated many picture books for children. A Portrait of Pia is her second novel for young readers. She lives in New York.