The Gallery of Wonders by Marc Remus (Magora, Book 1)Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy
When a mysterious fire ravages the town of Donkleywood, causing the death of her beloved grandfather, Nickolas, eleven-year-old Holly O’Flanigan, numb with grief, loses all hope of ever becoming a famous artist like him or of escaping her abusive foster family, the Smoralls. While hiding from them, Holly discovers a secret attic where her grandfather left a decidedly unusual paintbrush and a canvas with the image of a fantasy world—one Holly and three friends literally fall into. The painting is a gateway to the parallel world of Magora, where everything and everyone are created by painting.
With her three sidekicks in tow, Holly enrolls in the exciting Cliffony Art Academy, where they learn to weave painting with magic, just as Grandfather Nickolas could. Her hopes of becoming a painter and escaping the Smoralls finally seem to be coming true.