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Tomie dePaola

Biography

Tomie dePaola

Tomie De Paola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1934 to a family of Irish and Italian background. By the time he could hold a pencil, he knew what his life's work would be. His determination to create books for children led to a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and an MFA from the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California.

It drove him through the years of teaching, designing greeting cards and stage sets, and painting church murals until 1965, when he illustrated his first children's book, Sound, by Lisa Miller for Coward-McCann. Eventually, freed of other obligations, he plunged full time into both writing and illustrating children's books.

He names Fra Angelico and Giotto, Georges Rouault, and Ben Shahn as major influences on his work, but he soon found his own unique style. His particular way with color, line, detail, and design have earned him many of the most prestigious awards in his field, among them a Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona, the Smithsonian Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for his "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal for his "continued distinguished contribution," and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion. He was also the 1990 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration.

Tomie De Paola has published almost 200 children's books in fifteen different countries. He remains one of the most popular creators of books for children, receiving more than 100,000 fan letters each year.

Tomie lives in an interesting house in New Hampshire with his four dogs. His studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.

Tomie dePaola

Books by Tomie dePaola

by Tomie dePaola - Children's, Children's 4-8, Fiction, Humor, Magic, Picture, Youth Fiction

Bambolona is tired of working in her Papa’s bakery. There is far too much to do! So she decides to go to wise Strega Nona and learn a little magic, instead. But here comes Big Anthony. He wants to learn, too…if he doesn’t make a big mess of things first!

by Tomie dePaola - Children's, Children's 4-8, Fiction, Mythology, Picture, Youth Fiction

Little Giovanni is poor and homeless, but he can do something wonderful: he can juggle. The people of Sorrento marvel at his talents, and before long, he becomes famous for his rainbow of colored balls that delight the nobility and townspeople alike. But as the years pass, Giovanni grows old, and his talents begin to fail him. No longer a celebrated performer, he is once again poor and homeless, begging for his food. Until one Christmas Eve, when Giovanni picks up his rainbow of colored balls once more. And what happens next just might be a miracle…

by Tomie dePaola - Children's, Children's 4-8, Fiction, Picture, Youth Fiction

Michael is a young boy who loves birds. Every morning he puts on his bird suit and does his work in the countryside, until one day an ominous black cloud appears. What could be causing the black cloud? When Michael discovers that an artificial honey factory is to blame, he comes up with a very sweet solution; one that will keep everyone healthy, including his beloved birds --- and the environment.

by Tomie dePaola - Children's, Children's 4-8, Fiction, Picture, Youth Fiction

Andy may be the littlest kid on the block, but he’s very important. Andy has a wagon full of letters that spell his name, and he takes it with him wherever he goes. When the big kids decide that using Andy’s letters would be a lot of fun, Andy is left out of the game. But what can the big kids do if Andy takes his name and heads for home?

by Tomie dePaola - Children's, Family, Friendship, Picture

Andy is small. Sandy is tall. Andy is quiet. Sandy is LOUD. But when these two seemingly opposites meet at a playground one day, it might just be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Written in simple words and short, declarative sentences, this book is perfect for little ones just learning to read on their own.

by Tomie dePaola - Children's, Children's 4-8, Fantasy, Fiction, Picture, Youth Fiction

Big Anthony has a case of spring fever and he needs a little Night Life to cheer him up! But Big Anthony is afraid that if he goes to the village dance, no one will dance with him. So when Strega Nona goes away on a visit, Big Anthony borrows her magic ring, which turns him into a handsome stranger…

by Tomie dePaola - Children's, Children's 4-7, Fiction, Picture, Youth Fiction

Missing ingredients and mischievous pets create one humorous complication after another for a little old lady determined to make pancakes for breakfast in this larger-sized, color-enhanced edition of Tomie dePaola's wordless picture book classic.

by Tomie dePaola - Children's 4-8

In this beloved classic picture book, Tomie dePaola retells and illustrates an Italian Christmas folk tale, breathing warmth and humanity into the character of the lonely Old Befana and her endless search for the Christ Child. But when a brilliant star glows in the eastern sky one night, and Old Befana encounters the glorious procession of three kings on their way to Bethlehem, her little world will never be the same.

Written by Patricia MacLachlan with illustrations by Tomie dePaola - Children's 4-8, Picture

Nighttime is approaching as each animal readies itself for bed in this lyrical picture book text by Patricia MacLachlan. In striking paintings with a calming palette, Tomie dePaola imagines the scene through the eyes of mime Pierrot and his child.

by Tomie dePaola - Adventure, Children's 4-8, Friendship

Andy is small. Sandy is tall. Andy is quiet. Sandy is LOUD. Andy and Sandy may be opposites, but they’re best friends. And when they get together to play dress up, anything can happen.

by Tomie dePaola - Children's, Fiction, Picture

In this meditative and joyful book, a young boy awakens with the dawn, opens his eyes and looks closely at his world. He admires all that surrounds him, large and small, from the radiant sun to a tiny, but exquisite, lady bug.

by Tomie dePaola - Picture

When Jack sets out to see the world and find a place of his own, he’s surprised to attract a following of enthusiastic animal friends eager to join him on his quest. Jack and his entourage all have high hopes that they will find just what they are looking for as they travel on their merry way. Children will delight in the cumulative chorus of animal sounds as the pages get more and more crowded with the residents of this delightful kingdom.

written by Lin Oliver, illustrated by Tomie dePaola - Poetry

For babies and toddlers, each moment is full of wonder and discovery. This delightful collection of original poems celebrates the everyday things that enthrall little ones, such as playing peekaboo, banging pots and pans, splashing at bath time, and cuddling at bedtime. Full of contagious rhythm and rhyme, this inviting picture book introduces young children to the sound of poetry.

by Tomie dePaola - Fiction, Humor, Juvenile Fiction

All the young men in the village are chasing Angelina, but the one she has eyes for doesn’t know she exists. At his wits’ end, her father sends her to his cousin --- Strega Nona. Strega Nona, Big Anthony and Bambolona are excited to have a houseguest, but Angelina's demands have the whole household in a tizzy! It’s up to Strega Nona to devise a plan that will make everyone happy.

Written and Illustrated by Tomie dePaola - Children's, Christian, Fiction, Holiday

On the morning of the first Christmas, all the birds of Bethlehem are astir.  Something has happened! People from all over are in the city and an angel has appeared meaning something big is happening!

by Tomie dePaola

Starring two of Tomie dePaola's best-loved characters, this funny story features beautiful art, introduces young readers to Italian holiday traditions, and lands Big Anthony in yet another silly predicament that will delight fans young and old.

by Tomie dePaola - Children's, Picture

This story has no words --- but it doesn’t need them. Tomie dePaola’s beautiful illustrations evoke the style of Hungarian folk art as each page paints the story of a hunter who comes to the forest. When he can’t find any animals, the discouraged hunter falls asleep. While he’s sleeping, the animals play a trick on him! Look closely --- many animals are hiding in the pictures.