Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happily Ever After

THE BOOK OF FRIENDS, by Aubriauna at John F. Kennedy Elementary in Winooski, Vermont.

Once upon a time, there was a lonely little girl. She had nobody to be friends with. Five days later, there was a little boy. He was a good little boy. The boy found the girl all alone. So he came to ask to be friends with her. So they played tag and sports. They were even in school together. Then they helped each other. They became best friends. I asked what his name was. He said Tomie dePaola. And they lived happily ever after. The End!

Art From Singapore

The artist is six-year-old Job in Tabby Tan's class at Far Eastern Kindergarten in Singapore. Rad haircuts on the guys.

Ladies Who Lunch, photograph #2

Gerry Meoni is a friend from Tomie's teenage years. She is now the president of the MidState Medical Center Auxiliary in Meriden, Connecticut. And, that's why Tomie spoke at the Open Meeting of the Auxiliary this past Monday.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No Improvements Needed

Second grade teacher Cristen Vincent at Horace Mann School in Oak Park, Illinois: As the guide to their learning this year, I am soooooo delighted that you have written and illustrated the depth and breadth of books you have. There is a book of yours for every interest and every ability level.

Amanda: My favorite book is PASCUAL AND THE KITCHEN ANGELS because it's soothing.

Lucas: I have no improvements to make with your books.
Tomie: I value your opinion, Lucas. Thank you.

Tomie's Well in Africa

See Tomie's well in northern Ethiopia.

Will the Real First Grade Teacher Stand Up?!

Many students in L. Isenberg's third grade class at PS 30 in Staten Island, New York asked the same question as Jerry: In THE ART LESSON, you said your first grade teacher was Ms. Landers. But in ON MY WAY, your first grade teacher was Ms. Kiniry. Who was your real first grade teacher?

Tomie: I changed some of the names in THE ART LESSON. But, the names are accurate in ON MY WAY and the other "26 Fairmount Avenue" autobiographical chapter books. So, my kindergarten teacher was Miss Immick. My first grade teacher was Miss Kiniry. My second grade teacher was Miss Gardner. My third grade teacher for the first part of the year was Miss Bailey. We got a substitute teacher for the second part of the year.

Ladies Who Lunch, photograph #1

Tomie spoke at an Open Meeting of the MidState Medical Center Auxiliary in Meriden, Connecticut on Monday. Here he is telling the story from THE ART LESSON: "As Miss Landers passed them out to the class, she said, 'These crayons are school property, so do not break them, peel off the paper, or wear down the points.'" It's always a crowd-pleasing story with good audience reaction.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oconomowoc Hearts

Retired teacher Sue Taken from Greenland School in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin sent me these hearts that she bought in St. John. Thank you, Sue Taken!

Gallery Della-Piana, yet another photograph from the exhibition

Exhibition of Artwork at
152R Main Street
Wenham, MA 01984
Exhibition runs April 4 through May 16, 2009.

Potty Mouth

Anastasia is in Mrs. Turpin's second grade class at Fairview Elementary in Columbia, Missouri: I love your fantasy book STREGA NONA. It's an awesome book. It reminded me of my funny memory of the time my mom read LITTLE MERMAID. I asked how do they go potty? That was such a funny thing to say, but I'm still wondering how do they go potty. Either they have holes or I don't know.

Tomie: Now you've got ME wondering.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mini Skirts and Platform Shoes Are Back!

Jenny is in Mrs. Gray's first grade class at Steeple Run Elementary in Naperville, Illinois. I can't tell from looking at the picture which story is Jenny's favorite, but I am digging the pink-purple platform shoes.

Never Run Around Naked Next to a Crocodile

Amit in Dawn Smith's second grade class at Ankara Elementary in Ankara, Turkey: I'm warning you, never run around naked next to a crocodile.

Tomie: I won't forget. Thanks for the warning.


Mrs. Estep's second grade class at Hilliard Horizon Elementary in Columbus, Ohio wrote and illustrated BILL AND PETE COME BACK TO AMERICA.

The text on this page:
Bill went over to the ice cream stand to get a double scoop cone. While Bill was turned around he didn't even notice the Bad Guy's Little Tiny Brother creeping up behind Bubba. The Bad Guy's Little Tiny Brother threw a net over him and dragged him away while Bill was still eating. Bill said, "I wonder where Bubba went, he must have gone back to the swamp."

Making the World Happier, One Book at a Time

Kevin in Mrs. Czernec's second grade class at St. Rita School in Solon, Ohio: Thank you for making the world so happy!

Tomie: Thank YOU!

The Mean and Grouchy Baby Sister

Hira in Randi Schneiderman's third grade class at PS 238 in Brooklyn, New York: I could relate to BABY SISTER because I have one too. My baby sister is now 3 years old. She used to be cuddly and cute, but now she is mean and grouchy.

Esther: Do you know that book BABY SISTER? I once felt that way. My cousin had a baby boy. She's from my father's side. Everybody was talking and surrounding around the baby. They forgot about me. So I went in my room and watched TV.

Komal: I have a sister like you did in the book THE BABY SISTER. Let me tell you your sister was just born, but when they grow up to be 3 or 4 years old, they get mean. When they're small, you should play a lot because they grow to get so mean. I liked my sister when she was small but now sometimes I don't like her. But then she is nice to me.

Gregory: When I was born it was raining.
Tomie: Your memory is even better than mine!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Enough with All of the Books About Humans!

Richard is a third grade student in Mrs. Brochhagen's class at Willow Road School in Franklin Square, New York: Why don't you make a book about a newt, turtle and salamander? This will be a good idea because you write a lot of books about humans it would be good to write about a different species. So think about it!

Tomie: I will think about it.


Christo from Clarence Center, New York: My favorite book of yours is I'M STILL SCARED... I even got my own diary like yours. I sign it Y.B.F.I.T.W. Christo.

Tomie: Y.B.F.I.T.W. Tomie

A Visitor From New York City

Tim Travaglini, one of Tomie's editors at G. P. Putnam's Sons, was just here for a quick visit. He's in New Hampshire to attend the New England Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators conference.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Yes, I AM 24 Years Old

Austin in Miss Fox's second grade class at De Anza Elementary in San Jacinto, California: Is this your age 39?

Betzabeth: How old are you? 34?

Kaleb: Are you 32 years old?

Alexis: Are you 30 years old?

Joseph: Are you 24 years old?

Tomie: Yes! That's it! (My nose is growing.)

Where Is Your Heart?

Second graders at Mill Hill Elementary in Southport, Connecticut: Why did you not put a heart on NOW ONE FOOT, NOW THE OTHER for your trademark?

Tomie: I didn't draw the heart on many of my earlier books. You're a very observant class!

Please, Mister, Please, Come Dance for Us

Mrs. Spalding and Mrs. Eroen's First Grade "Moon Class" at Chadwick School in Palos Verdes Peninsula, California sent a letter in the form of a book.

"We have read all of your chapter books starting with 26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE and we love them! We feel like we're part of your family. Your books inspired some of us to write in a diary and some of us to dance and others to draw... We wish you could visit us at Chadwick and dance for us."

Tomie: Thanks for the dancing invitation, but my dancing days are pretty much over.

Click on the photo for a better look.

Gallery Della-Piana, another photograph from the exhibition

Exhibition of Artwork at
152R Main Street
Wenham, MA 01984
Exhibition runs April 4 through May 16, 2009.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Artwork by Isaiah in Nancy Thompson's second grade class at Belle Sherman School in Ithaca, New York.

Melt, Little Snow Pile. Melt!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Grandma Has Had Three Husbands

Alexa in Christine Crabb's second grade class at Voy Spears, Jr. Elementary in Lee's Summit, Missouri: I enjoyed your book OLIVER BUTTON IS A SISSY because it teaches kids not to tease people.

Isabelle: Did you know that there's a website about you?
Tomie: It's pretty good, too.

Lydia: The best book I liked was NANA UPSTAIRS & NANA DOWNSTAIRS. That book makes me remember my grandpa and greatgrandmother every time. That book just makes me want to cry because my grandpa and greatgrandmother died and I never ever met them.

Natalie: My grandma has had three husbands.
Tomie: But, who's counting?!

Ginny Marie Is Not Her Real Name

Ginny Marie, not her real name, likes Tomie's books, and has gushing book nerd potential.

Cute Characters and Appealing Style

Kimberly Denton Wright sent these books that she made for her family. I think her illustration style is appealing, and I've suggested that she pursue publication by joining the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, and contacting a former editor of mine, Nora Cohen, at Children's Book Editing.

Click on the photo to get some detail.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Istvan and Joshua, in Ms. McCord's third grade class at Whitmer Human Resources Center in Pontiac, Michigan, wrote and illustrated a sequel to LITTLE GRUNT AND THE BIG EGG. The sequel is MY HERO, GEORGINA. When Little Grunt became sick, Georgina helped him travel to the doctor through the Muddy Mud Puddle, the Scary Forest and Rock Mountain.

About the Authors and Illustrators:
Istvan would like to be an artist, illustrator or scientist when he grows up.

Joshua wants to be a lawyer, judge or billionaire when he grows up.

I'll Trade You a Tomie for a Jan Brett!

Mrs. Hutter's second grade class at Council Rock Primary School in Rochester, New York: We have been learning about different authors. We each selected our favorite authors and did research on websites and in books to learn about them. We used our information to create author cards. They are like baseball cards. We had fun trading our cards with each other.

Tomie: I hope my cards were traded for good authors!

(The card was educational with a photo on the front, and biographical information on the back.)

Carolina or Duke

Carolyn Burke's second grade library classes at Madison Elementary in McLeansville, North Carolina had some questions.

Q: Do you have a garden?
A: I have several gardens, but none of them are vegetable gardens. They are all flower gardens. There also are two small corn fields in the meadow maintained by my local nursery, Spring Ledge Farm. Spring Ledge Farm will be planting a lupine field for me in the meadow this spring.

Q: What is your biggest secret?
A: It's a secret.

Q: Do you like music?
A: Do you mean tunes? I like music, especially soundtracks.

Q: Do you like chapter books?
A: I love MY chapter books.

Q: Do you like Harry Potter books?
A: Not so much.

Q: Do you like Carolina or Duke best?
A: You're not talking about people, are you? I'm not a fan of Carolina. I'm not a fan of Duke.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Falling Stars

Elisa in Deb Williams' second grade class at Meadowview Elementary in Shipshewana, Indiana: My favorite book is NANA UPSTAIRS & NANA DOWNSTAIRS. I like it most because it makes me feel comfortable because my great grandma died not long ago. One thing I like the most in that story is when a falling star fell through the air. The most interesting thing was when the boy saw the star falling. Did a star fall when your great grandma died?

Tomie: Yes. NANA UPSTAIRS & NANA DOWNSTAIRS is a true story.

Words of Observation and Advice

Rita in Mrs. Wessberg's second grade class at Barbara Rose School in South Barrington, Illinois: I hope you have a great day! Make sure all those books are safe when it rains outside! It's a rainy world!

Tomie: That's a new way to consider the world.

charity: water

Last year in honor of his birthday, Tomie donated money, for a well, to charity: water. Charity: water brings clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Scott Harrison, founder and president of charity: water, just sent this photograph of Tomie's well in the Daereka village in northern Ethiopia.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sister, You Are SO Annoying!

First grader Matthew in Bette Fritzen's class at Marlborough Elementary in Marlborough, Connecticut: In the book 26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE, my favorite part was when you were the bunny.
Tomie: Not MY favorite part. I had been born to play the lead role of Peter Rabbit, and I was devastated when I was chosen to play Mopsy. I HAVE recovered from that childhood traumatic experience. (I think you meant that you read about this in HERE WE ALL ARE.)

Jack: Why did you want a baby sister? I have a 3 1/2 year old sister and she is SO annoying!!!
Tomie: I wanted a baby sister because I already had a brother. But, I understand. Sisters can be annoying.

Gallery Della-Piana, a photograph from the exhibition

Exhibition of Artwork at
152R Main Street
Wenham, MA 01984
Exhibition runs April 4 through May 16, 2009.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dance Machine

Second grader Katelyn in Mrs. Barden's class at Tanglewood Elementary in South Glens Falls, New York: Did you like tap dancing when you were little? I used to take jazz lessons when I was six years old. I quit because I was nervous about the recital.

Tomie: I loved tap dancing, and I loved the recitals. I write about some of them in my chapter books, including the newest chapter book, FOR THE DURATION, soon to be published. My career as a performer began at age three. I would dance on the stoop of our house for the workers who walked by the house. I was quite a hit with them! I also turned over my sandbox so that I could use it as a stage.

They're Talking About Me in Houston!

Peggy McFadden's third grade class at Hancock Elementary sent letters, drawings and questions.

Jaylon and many others: Do you have any advice for me to become a better writer?
Tomie: I do. Read, read, read.

Aniyah and many others: Does your dog help you write books?
Tomie: No. I wish he would.

Dasia and many others: Is it true you were four years old when you wrote your first book?
Tomie: It's a myth. I told everyone when I was four years old that I wanted to write stories and draw pictures for books when I got older.

Zachary and many others: Did people doubt you?
Tomie: My family never did.

Where in the World Is Tomie dePaola?

Write to Tomie at this address:

Tomie dePaola Mail
111 County Road
New London, NH 03257

One Giant Twinkle

There is a blog called "A Fondness for Reading." The blogger declared her "love" for Tomie dePaola, as did several people who commented about the "love post." One person, Bybee, wrote, "He's one giant twinkle."

Tomie Twinkle, or Twinkle Tomie.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tomie (Hearts) White Birds


Molly is in one of Stephanie Kinsella's second grade library classes at Riddle Elementary in Plano, Texas: Do you and your dog have the same birthday party?
Tomie: No. Bronte prefers to have separate parties.

Molly: Who is your BFF?
Tomie: Bronte

Grey Gardens

Tomie is looking forward to the premiere of "Grey Gardens" on HBO this coming Saturday. Tomie became fascinated with the Beales of Grey Gardens after seeing the documentary "Grey Gardens." The story became a hit Off-Broadway, and Tomie got the CD soundtrack. When the show was moved to Broadway, Tomie went to see it, and became even more fascinated. He also has the CD soundtrack of the Broadway production, and the 2006 follow-up documentary, "The Beales of Grey Gardens."

Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore star in this HBO TV event. Tomie couldn't be more excited.

The Beales were "an eccentric mother-daughter team who were related to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, but chose to live in a rotting, reeking shell of a Camelot in the otherwise pristine Hamptons."

Bad Words

Sara Ullman's first graders at Wasena Elementary in Roanoke, Virginia: What kind of cuss words did your dad say in the third book when he got mad?

Tomie: Are you sure you mean the third book? In 26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE, the first book in the autobiographical "26 Fairmount Avenue" chapter book series, I wrote, "My dad said some bad words." It doesn't much matter if they were cuss words or bad words because I don't think I should tell you exactly which words he used.

Class: Did you like Nana Fall-River or were you scared of her?
Tomie: When I was little, I was scared of her. As an adult, I loved her.

Feelings, Wo-o-o Feelings...

Calvin in Barb LeClaire's class at Vadnais Heights Elementary in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota: I like feeling. My favorite feeling I get are vibrations. I also like when my head gets cold. What is your favorite feeling?

Tomie: I think you're asking about my favorite physical sensations. When I was little, I liked the feelings I got sliding down a big hill on my Flexible Flyer snow sled. When I was older, I liked the feelings I got with my feet in my roller skates as I skated on the concrete sidewalk. As an old man, I like the feeling I get when I climb into bed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tomie (Hearts) Blue Hyacinths

Artist v. Wildebeest: The Poem

I've never seen a dotted gnu,
Nor one bedecked with flowers
Unless, of course, the ones I've seen
Emerge from "happy hours."

Regardless, though, there's one I've viewed
Transforming from the haze
Of Tomie's blog. He's painting it!
You'd really be amazed!

So all of you who like to see
Your animals "extraordinaire,"
Check out the gnu; he/she is great!
I've ne'er seen one so fair!

By Jennette Stark, Canada

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tomie Crunch Cereal

Alexandra in Miss Lizzy Steele's second grade class at Fiske Elementary in Wellesley, Massachusetts: We made cereal boxes of you. We called them Tomie Crunch.

Tomie: Yummo!

The Whole Entire Universe!

Jessika at Guilford Central School in Guilford, Vermont: I think you are the best artist in the whole entire universe.

Tomie: Gee, I was content to be called "the best artist in the world." But, the universe? The WHOLE ENTIRE universe? Now, that's seriously cool.

Jay, the Jokester

Brai at Silver Lane School in East Hartford, Connecticut: I used to have an imaginary friend. His name was Jay. He made me laugh by telling me jokes. Did you have an imaginary friend when you were little?

Tomie: No. I never did.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Kids or Money?

Hannah in Ms. Patterson's class at Lincolnway Elementary in York, Pennsylvania: Who are your parents? They should be very proud of you.
Tomie: My parents were Flossie and Joe, and they were proud of me. (They died many years ago.)

Oswaldy: Are you a writer because of kids or money?
Tomie: When I was a boy, I wanted to write stories and draw pictures for them. I wanted to make books almost my entire life. Writing and illustrating books is my job. So, you could say that I write and illustrate books for both kids and money.

Artist v. Wildebeest, even more photographs

A Regular Brainiac

Leticia in Ms. Kenebrew's third grade class at Gray Elementary in Balch Springs, Texas: I like your books because you use big words in your books and synonyms and antonyms, too. It has nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives.
Tomie: I'm a regular genius!

Ms. Kenebrew: I feel your book, BONJOUR, MR. SATIE, is an excellent way to introduce young readers to other cultures and customs. I am wondering if you might have thought of a few sequels to this book?
Tomie: I had a lot of ideas for more books featuring Mr. Satie and his travels. However, the first book didn't sell as well as the publisher wanted. So, the publisher didn't encourage me to write more Mr. Satie books.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tomie (Hearts) Clivia

Rubber Duckies and Pink Flamingoes

Suzann Thompson's second graders at Hodge Elementary in Denton, Texas had probing questions.

Liam: Have you ever broken one of your bones?
Tomie: I broke my wrist as a young teenager at Boy Scout camp. I twice broke my ribs as an adult.

Taevionna: Do you have farm pets like pigs and ducks?
Tomie: I don't have pigs, but I have rubber duckies and pink flamingoes.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sade (with an acute accent over the e)

Sade is a student at Lancaster Elementary in Milwaukee.

Sade: Were you amusing when you were in high school?
Tomie: Yes, I was very entertaining, and I might add, I still am.

Sade: Were you attractive in middle school?
Tomie: Not so much. I had big ears.

Sade: Did girls like to glance at you?
Tomie: Yes, because I was hot.

Sade: Were you a phenomenal student?
Tomie: Yes, except in math.

Artist v. Wildebeest, more photographs

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Fine Folks of Spring Ledge Farm

Left to Right:
Megan, Tomie, Greg, Sue Ellen

STREGA NONA'S HARVEST (publishing in October 2009) is dedicated...
For Greg and all the fine folks at Spring Ledge Farm

Tomie told Greg Berger (owner), Megan and Sue Ellen (fine folks) about the dedication several minutes ago in the farmstand. Tomie presented Greg, Astrid and their family an autographed F & G (folded and gathered sheets).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

They're Talking About Me in Hyde Park, New York!

Candy Walsh's second grade students at Netherwood Elementary had comments and questions.

Gabby: Do you make good pies?
Tomie: Now that you mention it, yes, I do.

Michael: I am going to tell you about myself. I am scared of dogs. My brother is a pain in the butt, and honestly he is annoying. I love video games and my dad is a beer drinker.
Tomie: I also didn't get along with my brother. Someday, you may meet a dog that helps you with your fear of dogs.

They're Talking About Me in Emerson, New Jersey!

Ann Reneri's second grade class at Memorial School wrote letters.

Steven: Are you going to retire?
Tomie: Probably not, although some days when my drawing hand is hurting, it seems like a very good idea.

Cassidy: Did you know that I'm cool?
Tomie: No, I didn't. I'm cool, too. We're ALL cool!

Reassuring Words

Mrs. Rina Walter's first grade student, Ashad, at PS 165Q in Flushing, New York: I loved your 6th book I'M STILL SCARED. It was the best book you ever made. It talked all about your life. I hope you don't be afraid of the war. You will be fine. Don't be upset. I know you will be fine. Don't be scared, OK?

Tomie: OK


An F & G of STREGA NONA'S HARVEST just came. Love the front jacket and the type that was chosen! The current on sale date is October 5, 2009.

SHOUT OUT to Jennifer Smith and her class in Australia who check out the blog every Monday morning.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Irish Folktales and Leonardo da Vinci

Kathleen Morris' class at the Village School for Children in Waldwick, New Jersey wrote letters.

Jonathan: Every time I read one of your books I have dreams about it for weeks! My favorite book is JAMIE O'ROURKE AND THE BIG POTATO. The illustrations are so good even Leonardo Da Vinci couldn't draw better!

Tomie: It IS interesting that Leonardo never illustrated any Irish folktales. He must have known that his illustrations would not be good. It was wise of him instead to focus on painting the "Mona Lisa," and other non-Irish themes.

Artist v. Wildebeest

Matthew Meets the Artist

Matthew from Stoneham, Massachusetts, a first grader, attended the Opening Reception last night for Tomie's artwork exhibition at Gallery Della Piana in Wenham, Massachusetts. The exhibition is up through May 16.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tomie (Hearts) Hydrangeas

A Cloudy Sky

Dianne Anderson's second grade media classes at East Central Elementary in Finlayson, Minnesota made comments and asked questions.

Holly: My dad is younger than my mom.
Tomie: Does he remind your mother?

Allison: My sister is very nice. She likes pizza.
Tomie: Studies show that pizza-loving sisters are usually nice.

Sydney: I lost 7 teeth.
Morgan: I have lost 8 teeth.
Tomie: 9? Has anyone lost 9 teeth?! Going once, going twice... Morgan wins with 8 teeth lost.

Colton: What's your favorite drink?
Tomie: I don't think I should go into detail. But, it is called "a Cloudy Sky." I also like root beer.

Why-o-why-o-why-o Isn't There a Book Eight-o?

Mrs. Mashburn, a first grade teacher, of New Hope Elementary in Dalton, Georgia wrote:
I have been reading your books to my class for years. You are always a class favorite. This year when I read the last chapter of WHY, you could hear a pin drop. When I finished, they asked me to read the first chapter of the next book. They were really disappointed to find out there wasn't a next book (yet).

Tomie: I just finished the artwork for Book 8, FOR THE DURATION. The publisher is scrambling to get it published asap. I heard this morning that mid-July is a likely on sale date.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tomie (Hearts) Calla Lilies

No Yoke

Tomie has just agreed to cook with Mary Ann Esposito on her cooking show, "Ciao Italia." The taping will take place this summer, and the cooking will occur in Tomie's kitchen. Her show airs on public television. The show with Tomie will be part of her new season. Cardoons will be the focus of the program. Oh my!

Secret #3, mentioned weeks ago, is that Tomie will be a featured speaker at the Children's Book & Author Breakfast at BookExpo America in late May. Meg Cabot and Amy Krouse Rosenthal will also be featured speakers. Julie Andrews will be the host. When Tomie was invited to be a speaker, a certain African-American host of "The View" was thought to be the host. Connie and Peggy, owners of our local Morgan Hill Bookstore, will be at the breakfast as guests of Tomie's publisher, Penguin Young Readers Group.