Tomie dePaola bigraphy, stories - American children's illustrator and writer

Tomie dePaola : biography

September 15, 1934 -

Thomas Anthony dePaola (born September 15, 1934), is an American writer and illustrator who has created more than 200 children's books, best known for picture books such as Strega Nona. He received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for his career contributions to American children's literature in 2011.


DePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut to a family of Irish and Italian heritage. He had one brother, Joseph (nicknamed Buddy), and two sisters, Judie and Maureen. His book The Baby Sister is about Maureen being born. DePaola was attracted to art at an early age and credits his family with encouraging his development as an artist and influencing the themes of his works.

After high school, dePaola studied art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

DePaola taught art at Newton College of the Sacred Heart outside Boston from 1962 to 1966, then moved to California where he taught at San Francisco College for Women from 1967 to 1970. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland in 1969 and a doctoral equivalency from Lone Mountain College in San Francisco. DePaola relocated to New England in the 1970s, teaching art at Chamberlayne Junior College in Boston from 1972 to 1973. From 1973 to 1976 he worked at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire, as an associate professor, designer, and technical director in the speech and theater department and as writer and set and costume designer for the Children's Theatre Project. He taught art at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire, from 1976 to 1978. DePaola retired from full-time teaching in 1978 to devote his time to writing and illustrating books. He provided illustrations for Maggie and the Monster Baby (Holiday House, 1987) by Elizabeth Winthrop.

The first published book that dePaola illustrated was a 1965 volume in the Coward-McCann series "Science is what and why": Sound, written by Lisa Miller. (Coward-McCann series from 1965). WorldCat. Retrieved 2013-06-11. The first that he wrote and illustrated was The Wonderful Dragon of Timlin, published by Bobbs-Merrill in 1966.

As an actor, dePaola has appeared in several episodes of Barney & Friends as himself. He also starred as himself in the Jim Henson Company series Telling Stories with Tomie dePaola.

The Pratt Institute honored him with an honorary doctorate on May 18, 2009.

DePaola currently resides in New London, New Hampshire, where he taught from 1973 to 1976.


This list omits most nonfiction.

Strega Nona series

  • Strega Nona
  • Strega Nona Her Story
  • Strega Nona Meets Her Match
  • Strega Nona Takes a Vacation
  • Strega Nona's Magic Lessons
  • Brava, Strega Nona!
  • Strega Nona's Harvest
  • Big Anthony His Story
  • Big Anthony and the Magic Ring
  • Merry Christmas, Strega Nona
  • Strega Nona's Gift

Memoir series

  • 26 Fairmount Avenue
  • Here We All Are
  • On My Way
  • What a Year
  • Things Will Never Be the Same (The War Years)
  • I'm Still Scared (The War Years)
  • Why? (The War Years)
  • For the Duration (The War Years)

Big Books

  • Front Porch Tales and North Country Whoppers
  • Christmas Remembered
  • Tomie dePaola's Big Book of Favorite Legends
  • Tomie dePaola's Book of Bible Stories
  • Tomie dePaola's Favorite Nursery Tales
  • Tomie dePaola's Mother Goose

About growing up and his family

  • The Art Lesson
  • The Baby Sister
  • Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs
  • Stagestruck
  • Tom
  • Tony's Bread
  • Watch Out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup
Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine