Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My ABCs of Tomie dePaola

A is for author and artist.

B is for beauty. Tomie sees beauty all around him, and shares it with his readers through his illustrations.

C is for Christmas, his favorite holiday and the subject of many of his books. Some of the most recent are: CHRISTMAS REMEMBERED, GUESS WHO'S COMING TO SANTA'S FOR DINNER, and MY FIRST CHRISTMAS.

D is for dePaola - da-POW-la, and not dee-pay-O-la - and for dogs. He has an Airedale terrier whose name is Bronte.

E is for energy! He was once described as a combination of Elton John and the Energizer Bunny.

F is for Fairmount Avenue. 26 Fairmount Avenue was the address of the dePaola family home, and the name of his first autobiographical chapter book: 26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE.

G is for genius, and gifted - two words used when discussing Tomie and his work.

H is for hearts. The heart is a symbol for Tomie.

I is for illustrator. THE DETROIT NEWS wrote: "Generally, we don't think of those who create books for children - authors or illustrators - as superstars. Yet, certain names - Sendak, Carle, dePaola, among others - have acquired the kind of sparkle that goes with star status. A new book by any one of the stellar few stands as a real publishing event."

J is for joy-filled. Tomie's books often make us laugh, and feel better about ourselves.

K is for kid-at-heart. Tomie's books are in touch with young children.

L is for love. Strega Nona says that love is the magic ingredient.

M is for medals, and awards, and honors. Tomie and his work have won many including the Caldecott Honor and the Newbery Honor, the Smithson Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, the Regina Medal from the Catholic Library Association, and others.

N is for Nana: Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs, Nana Fall-River.

O is for one-of-a-kind. Tomie is one-of-a-kind!

P is for popcorn, his favorite food.

Q is for quite amazing. Did you know that Tomie can act, and sing and tap dance?

R is for really popular. Tomie receives tens of thousands of letters from fans each year.

S is for Strega Nona. Of course!

T is for Tomie, and Tommy.

U is for understanding. Tomie understands the hearts and minds of his readers.

V is for variety. Tomie has written fiction, non-fiction, autobiography, poetry, legend, etc.

W is for whitebird, another personal symbol.

X is for 'xciting. Tomie has exciting projects planned for the future, including a Mother's Day book about his mother Flossie.

Y is for young illustrators. Tomie likes the work of young writers and illustrators Jarrett Krosoczka, David Ezra Stein, Jesse Joshua Watson, and many others.

Z is for the zillion things I've forgotten to mention.

Created by Val Hornburg, author of ON THE WING OF A WHITEBIRD: A TOMIE DEPAOLA RESOURCE BOOK. (I, Bob, will admit to editing Val's list and adding a Y entry since Val forgot an entry for Y.)