Tomie was born on September 15, 1934. So that makes him how old? Born in Connecticut to an Italian father and Irish mother, he grew up with an older brother and two younger sisters. Tomie developed a love for books at an early age probably because his mother loved books and read to Tomie every day!
As a four-year-old, he said, his "best friend" was his Irish great- grandmother, who became the central figure in the book "Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs. The character Strega Nona, with her big pasta pot, was partly inspired by dePaola's Italian grandmother.
By age four, Tomie knew he wanted to write stories and draw pictures for books. (He also wanted to be a singer and tap dancer!) At the age of 31, he illustrated his first picture book. Tomie loves dogs!! - He has 5 Welsh Terriers – Bingley, Moffet, Madison, Markus, and Morgan.
Tomie's newest series is "Barker Twins" - twin dog characters, inspired by his own dogs. His books have been published in over 15 different countries. Tomie dePaola has received virtually every significant recognition for his books in the children's book world.
Tomie dePaola has illustrated over 200 books and written the stories for over 100 of those books for the past 40 years! More than 5,000,000 (that's five MILLION!) copies of Tomies books have been sold. Each year, he gets over 100,000 fan letters and more than 1,000 invitations to speak.
Today, Tomie dePaola lives in New Hampshire and his art studio is in a 200- year-old barn. You can write to Tomie at the following address.
Tomie DePaola says his greatest hope is that his books will all send a message of joy. Taking a heart as his trademark, he says he wants to let his readers know that "life is worth living and is a wonderful thing to experience. His dream, he says, is that at least one of his books or pictures "will touch the heart of some individual child and change that child's life for the better."
Children's Author and Illustrator Tomie dePaola Interview 22March04 (Run Time 22:42) http://lilt.ilstu.edu/wglt/profile.asp?ID=132 Direct link in case the above icon does not work! pnm://www.wglt.org/audio/040322tomie.mp3 Click on the heart to listen to the interview!
First, you have to read, says writer and illustrator Tomie dePaola. 'If you read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything. Then you have the confidence you need to write.' Writing also takes practice, he says. He always has to write more than one draft of a story. Tomie's Tips on Writing Books
What Tomie says about learning to draw. Real Artists Don't Copy! That is the best advice I ever got.' You must come up with your own creations and practice a lot. His first drawings were rounded figures of people, and his mother told him he always colored in the entire page. (He also doodled on his arithmetic.) Real Artists Don't Copy
Tomie says he's been working hard ever since his first job, which was to dig a ditch. 'But I don't want to let the hard work show,' he adds. What he means is that although his art requires hard work, he wants it to appear easy. He wants his work to give people a happy, uplifted feeling! Work Hard
What books did you read as a child? I read all kinds of folktales and legends! I loved the Greek legends! Do you write and/or illustrate other types of books? If so, what kinds? I do ALL kinds of books - chapter books, non-fiction, folktales, and biographical books. Interview - March 2000
If you could trade places with one extremely famous person for one day, who would it be and why? No one. I like being me! What message would you like to send to all children? Fall in love with reading and with books. They can be your best friends! Interview - March 2000
What has been the biggest influence on your writing and artwork? The teachers I had when I was young, when I was in art school and my editor and art director now! What was your favorite subject in school? Why? Reading (and of course, art!) Reading because I could find out lots of things and also feed my imagination! Interview - March 2000
Who was your childhood hero? I had several! Mrs. Beulah Bowers - the art teacher. Miss Leah - my tap dancing teacher. And my grandfather, Tom. Interview - March 2000
Learn how to make a valentine, draw flowers and more! Click here to print out page.here Click here for your very own 26 Fairmount Avenue coloring page that you can print out and color.here
Click here for your very own Strega Nona coloring page that you can print out and color.here CVlick here for your very own Barkers coloring page that you can print out and color. here