Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Heart Sun

Steven is in Mrs. Quaglia's second grade library class at Highland Park Elementary in Manchester, Connecticut.

Mrs. Quaglia: Both Mrs. Gillis' class and Mrs. Delissio's class have drawn hearts for you during our library time to show you how much we appreciate all your wonderful books!

Colorful Cats

Caroline is in Mrs. Farrior's first grade class at Marlborough Elementary in Marlborough, Connecticut.

Happy Halloween!

"Mom helped Buddy into the long black robe with the black cape and pointed hood. He put on the mask. He looked really good! Now me. I stepped into my costume. Mom zipped up the back. She helped me put on my mask and wig.

"There we were!

"Snow White and the Wicked Witch.

"We looked just like the movie. No one would know it was Buddy and I."

Copyright 2002 by Tomie dePaola. From the book, WHAT A YEAR, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween Weekend!

Rosita is in Bettyann Sherrell's class at Peter Pendleton Elementary in Coachella, California.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Even the Publisher Gets Confused

Tomie just received jacket samples of UNDER THE BANYAN TREE, by Toni De Palma. The Holiday House mail room sent them to Tomie dePaola instead of sending them to Toni De Palma.

With Love From Taiwan

"I am Jennifer Chang and I have been teaching conversational English in Australia and Taiwan to all ages and levels for over 10 years. I am currently teaching at Cat's Language School in Taipei, Taiwan. As an ESL teacher in Taiwan, I try to introduce great children's literature to my students. My students were also interested in reading 'Strega Nona' and we had a Strega Nona art contest in my school. Some of the pictures of their work have been sent to you."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Mighty Tree

Connor is in Mrs. Pulice-Loomis's second grade class at Asbury School in Fairview, Pennsylvania: I want to learn. How to draw a tree. Becas you mast draw good trees.

Tomie: I think you drew a fine tree, Connor.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Splendid and Delightful

Mrs. Read-Smith's second grade class at San Pasqual School in Escondido, California, wrote letters.

Thomas and Brandon: I think art is artistic.

Caitlyn: I think art is delightful.

Carlos: I think art is exercising for your hand.

Emily G.: I think art is splendid and amazing.

Tomie: Yes, art is splendid and all of those other things, too.

Really Cool and Stinky

Austin is the artist, and is in the second grade at Cranbury School in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Trevor: Did you go on vacation? I did. I slept on a battle ship over vacation. It was really cool, stinky, and a little cold.
Tomie: Sign me up!

Dean: My class is having a vocabulary parade and my class dreses up as your characters. I am a leprkon.
Tomie: What is the letter Q?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My "Freind" Brigham

Brigham is in Mrs. Smith's first grade class at Barrett Elementary in Morgan Hill, California.

World Travelers

Mrs. Symmes's first grade class at Mulberry Elementary in Auburn, Georgia, wrote letters (VERY long letters for first graders).

David: We have been studying on your oathor study. First we studied your memwars. Then we studied your family. Then we made passports. And we travled the world. First we went to Ireland we learned about the hole intire cultur. We also read some of your Irish foctals. They were super cool books. We even had a super awsome cool Irish party. We ate delosos patato soup. Next we traveled to Italy. And we learned all about Italy. It was super fun. We ate delosos sapagete. We read tuns of books about Italy. Strega Nona and Big Anthony books were the best. I love Big Anthony. After that I went to Texas. And read The Legend of the blueblonets.

Steven: Did you really put on lipstick if you did to would be soooooooooooooooooooooo harlyis?

Tomie: Yes, it's true. "One day when no one was around, I sat there and put on my mother's lipstick, pretending to be Miss Mae West." HERE WE ALL ARE

Caden: Did you really see a shooting star when both nanas die?

Tomie: Yes. I told this story in NANA UPSTAIRS & NANA DOWNSTAIRS.

Jake: Do you still make paper dolls?

Tomie: No. I wrote about making paper dolls and playing with paper dolls in WHY?

Morgan: Did you call your self Oliver in Oliver botton is a sissy?

Tomie: Not really. OLIVER BUTTON IS A SISSY is very loosely based on my life.

Ashton: By the way I have a contion of Jamie O'Rourk. I am lazy and I go to sleep like him.

Tomie: Many of us probably have that condition.

Megan: Did you really burn your hair?

Tomie: In WHY? I wrote about the time that I used my mother's curling iron and the curling iron was too hot. The result was a big burned-out spot of hair.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Life Is an Open Book

Miss Denise's kindergarten class at North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, Florida, asked some questions:

Q: What is your favorite shape?
A: All shapes

Q: What is your favorite fruit?
A: Watermelon

Q: What is your favorite number?
A: 2

The Famous Radio Irish Dancers

Connor is in Mrs. Meyer's first grade class at St. Pius X Elementary in Appleton, Wisconsin: I know how much you love to draw. I love to draw too. We too must be cousins and Buddy and your cousins are the famous radio Irish Dancers!

Tomie: I'm not sure we're cousins, but maybe you're right. As to the famous radio Irish Dancers, I think you're confusing the Dancers with my mother's cousin, Morton Downey, who was well known from the radio as an Irish tenor (singer).

Tomie: Thanks for writing, cuz!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Coolest

Mrs. Avery's third grade class at Stevens Elementary in Wallingford, Connecticut, wrote letters.

Donovon: My dad is 33 and cool just like you. When I grow up I want to be like you because you're exciting.
Tomie: I get mistaken for 33 all of the time, but I'm actually 76. I'm very cool. Exciting, too.

Milana: I love your paintings at the Wallingford Public Library.
Tomie: Thank you, Milana, for reminding me that many of my original paintings are on permanent display in the children's room at the Wallingford Public Library.

Does Anyone Have a Good Sister?

Mrs. Theriault's second grade class at Cloverdale School in Carol Stream, Illinois, wrote letters.

John: I write books about my sister. One of them are called MY BAD SISTER.

Tomie: Are you saying that you don't get along with your sister?

Kayla: I have a sister that is a pain.

Tomie: You should get together with John and write stories about your sisters.

Gillian: I am Gillian (Jillian).

Tomie: I am Tomie (Tommy).

Dylan: Your imagination is wild!

Tomie: My imagination is wild and crazy, don't-you-know.

Unique Little Tomie

Mrs. Beverly Murphy is a second grade teacher at Thurgood Marshall Elementary in Newark, Delaware.

"Your drawings have inspired my students to embrace art and storytelling as a means of expressing themselves. Even my most challenged readers have found a friend in little Tomie as he struggles to be the unique individual his talents lead him to be. Oliver Button teaches them that different is not only acceptable, but sometimes even better than the rest. Your stories teach them to value young and old alike. I believe it is vital for these young ones to hear these words. Often times the world screams a far different message of intolerance for anyone not youthful, thin, and beautiful."

Tomie: Thank you for your lovely note, and the creative and colorful letters from your students.

A Poem by Steven Smiley

Steven Smiley wrote a poem. He is in Mrs. Davidson's class at Hillview Intermediate Center in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

Tomie dePaola Poem

Tomie was born on September 15, 1934.
And he was all his parents had hoped for.

Tomie's mom was nicknamed Flossie.
And her lips were very glossy.

Tomie had an Irish & Italian ancestry.
Bet ya he had quite a story.

He had an older brother named Joe.
Sometimes he was Tomie's foe.

Tomie grew up in the Great Depression.
This probably left an impression.

On Tomie's 9th Christmas he got an easel for which he was thankful.
Tomie thought his easel was cool.

In 4th grade he sent a drawing to Walt Disney.
When Disney wrote back he was filled with glee.

In 1962 Tomie taught at Newton College of Sacred Heart.
There students learned some art.

For Strega Nona, Tomie received a Caldecott Award.
He would keep moving forward.

He appeared in several episodes of Barney & Friends.
Tomie's television appearances didn't come to an end.

Cove Gallery: Opening Reception, July 31, 2010

Kathy Simpson and Fred on the left, and Daphne Confar and Ben on the right.

What About Me?

Lisa Joy and Stacy Huber's second grade class at Park City Magnet School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, wrote.

Hailee: My favorite book is Junie B. Jones.

Juthika: I like to read books about Arthur by Marc Brown.

Kelly: I like to read books about the Cat in the Hat.

Zoey: I like to read books about Barbie and the Diamond Castle.

Alijah: I like books about SpongeBob Squarepants.

Mackenzie: I like to read books about Nancy Drew.

Born: 9/15/34 Died: Didn't

Emily is in Mrs. LaMere's third grade class at Quinn Elementary in Tupper Lake, New York. She made a Tomie dePaola "Biography Poster Report." This is her portrait.

Classroom Sugar High

Nathaniel is in Mrs. Swink's second grade class at Wea Ridge Elementary in Lafayette, Indiana: Can I get your autograph!!! Sorry My name is Nathaniel or you can call me Nathan or Nate or Na. Sorry Again I ate to much suagr.

Tomie: Hide the cupcakes!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Muhammad is in Mrs. Doolittle's first grade class at Boght Hills Elementary in Cohoes, New York: Your book are the bast and your ilstrashine but could you plees make mor Stregas Nona and Big Anthonys books and my frawete acter is Banblon becuaes she wamd Big Anthony with her pers.

Tomie: "Wamd" puzzled me until I remembered this illustration. "Wamd" is pronounced as it's spelled... "whammed."

Illustration Copyright 1993 by Tomie dePaola. From the book, STREGA NONA MEETS HER MATCH, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons.

So, THAT'S What You Look Like!

Herlinda Sanchez lives in San Jacinto, California: I just had the nicest surprise while watching a cooking program on TV. You were on it. I was so excited when I finally put a face to all those wonderful stories I've been reading. It was nice to see you on TV, your sense of humor showing through.

Tomie: It was a lot of fun cooking with Mary Ann Esposito on "Ciao Italia."

Friday, October 22, 2010


Eli is in Ms. Johnston's third grade class at Stowell Elementary in Hannibal, Missouri: I like OLIVER BUTTON IS A SISSY because I get called a sissy by my brother at home.

Tomie: I hope your brother stops calling you sissy. I didn't like it when my brother called me sissy.

Jarred: I like NANA UPSTAIRS & NANA DOWNSTAIRS because I lost all my grandparents too. It is sad losing your grandparents. I can't believe I have something in common with a 74 year old man.

Tomie: It gets worse. I'm actually 76 years old. You have something in common with a 76-year-old man!

Self Portraits

Mrs. Ebert is a second grade teacher at Clara Barton Elementary in Corona, California: We loved your style of using colored paper and cutting out shapes to create a new picture. We tried it ourselves and loved how the pictures turned out. We used shades of green and blue for background and then created ourselves in the pictures. The black and white checks were an afterthought. We had little squares lying around from a multiplication activity.

Tomie: Very creative.

(Click on the image to get a better look.)

Old Befana Had a Farm...

Teya is in Miss White's second grade class at Wiley Elementary in Raleigh, North Carolina: My class made up a song that goes "Old Befana had a farm, E-I-E-I-O," and so on.

Tomie: Catchy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Whole Lot Going On

Olivia is in Melisa Scott's kindergarten class at Bridgewater-Hebron Village School in Bridgewater, New Hampshire. There's a whole lot going on in this drawing.

The Reporter From THE NEW YORK TIMES

"A reporter from THE NEW YORK TIMES" called yesterday afternoon. The "reporter" wanted a comment from Tomie regarding "the death of the picture book."

Tomie gave a statement to the "reporter."

The "reporter" then began to get a bit "familiar" so Tomie asked, "Who is this?"

Jarrett. (As in "Lunch Lady" creator Jarrett Krosoczka.)

We fell for it hook, line and sinker.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Similarities and Differences Between the '30s and 2010

Miss Fry teaches third grade at Cleveland School in Chicago: My third graders have been studying the 1930s and we read 26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE to learn more about the time period. They wanted to tell you the difference between the 1930s and 2010.

Annelisse: When you were minuscule you were indimtical to us because we both watch TV and movies. We both have schools and we both move to other houses. We also know our own way home! But what you and I dodn't have in common is with us I never in my life ran away from school! I have a inquiry. Why did you call groun-ups Miss, Mr. or Mrs.? Remember when you went to kinder gardin you didn't learn to read? But know we do learn how to read in kinder gardin. Thats a bummer right?

Tomie: We called grown-ups Miss, Mr. or Mrs. as a sign of respect. And, it was a bummer that we didn't learn to read in kindergarten. (I don't think the word "bummer" existed in the '30s.)

We're All Special!

Jalynn is in Mrs. Schrock's class at Greenbriar Elementary in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is the artist.

Liam: Your the best Artaist in the world and his name is Tomy dePaola. You are great at books. Your aosum and snart and cool. Your varey speshl to me.

Tomie: You're very special to me, too.

Mistaken Identity?

In an article about the Carle Honors in the Huffington Post, Tomie was mentioned as Bea Jackson's "fellow student" at Colby-Sawyer College. However, Tomie never attended Colby-Sawyer College. Also, he doesn't know Bea Jackson.

But hey, it's publicity!

"Teachers Meet Kit Lit Glitterati"

Which, Witch and Whichis

Nathan is a student at Moore Elementary in Arlington, Texas: I think you do good books. But I'm a crischin and my mom says that whichis are on YOU KNOW HOW's side. How lives down there. Is Strega Nona a which. Because I don't know why I am asking this. Why does Strega Nona need help if she is a strega.

Tomie: Strega Nona is a kind, gentle, loving and good grandma witch. She's a character I imagined. She isn't a real person.

Collin: I notice your books have a problem and a solution.

Tomie: You "notice" well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Strega Nona and My Swimming Pool

Vyrna is in Mrs. Kelly's 2/3 combination class or Mrs. Schiefer's second grade class at San Pasqual Union School in Escondido, California.

Tomie: I have told children for many years that Strega Nona built my swimming pool.

Vyrna's speech bubble: How's the swimming pool, Tomie!

Bill and Pete, the Hermit Crabs

Ryan is in Mrs. Kelly's 2/3 combination class or Mrs. Schiefer's second grade class at San Pasqual Union School in Escondido, California: We have hermit crabs named Bill and Pete. Every time I read one of your books you encourage me.

Next to You

Delaney is in Mrs. Kelly's 2/3 combination class or Mrs. Schiefer's second grade class at San Pasqual Union School in Escondido, California: In your illustrations it seems like I am right there next to you.

Tomie Week

Cynthia is in Mrs. Kelly's 2/3 combination class or Mrs. Schiefer's second grade class at San Pasqual Union School in Escondido, California: This week is Tomie Week in our class.

Are Five Sisters BETTER Than Two?

Marie in Mrs. Hopkins's second grade class (with student teacher Kaydee Sporleder) at Sunrise Elementary in Spokane Valley, Washington, wrote: I have 5 sisters and you have 2. I have a lot more than you. That is soo funny!

Tomie: You win!

Simply the Best!

Mrs. Kimball-Sherman's first grade class at Roosevelt School in Melrose, Massachusetts, named STREGA NONA as their favorite book because...

She's funny.
She's Italian.
She has a magic pasta pot and she makes pasta, the best! Mangia!
She's a witch, but she's nice.
She's magical.
She has a curious helper, Big Anthony, what would she do without him?
She's a funny old woman.
She's like everyone's grandmother, she likes to help people.
She's the best!!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Floods and Big, Beautiful Hair

Alexandria is in the second grade at Whittier Elementary in Westerville, Ohio. Her teacher is Elaine Loeffert or Barbara McBee.

Tomie: Luxurious hair.

Taylor is also in the second grade at Whittier: I noticed that almost all of your books have floods in them like in THE POPCORN BOOK, there's a flood of popcorn.

Tomie: Hmm, that's a new observation.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nice Tiara

Cadence is in Mrs. Elmore's second grade class at Watkins Elementary in Wylie, Texas.

Does Red Make Me Look Thinner or Fatter?

Nick is in Ms. Super's (a SUPER last name for a teacher) second grade class at Midview West Elementary in Grafton, Ohio. He made a birthday card.

Don't Forget

On January 28, 2007, Rebecca Rule interviewed Tomie, in front of a live audience, at the University of New Hampshire for the New Hampshire Authors' Series. The interview was taped. It can be seen on the New Hampshire Public Television website. Pure fun.

In the righthand column of this blog, look under "Favorite Websites" for "Tomie on TV - NH Public TV 1/28/2007."


MY FIRST CHRISTMAS CAROLS is now available from Grosset & Dunlap. This collection features six Christmas carols from "Deck the Halls" to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

76th Birthday Dinner

Birthday dinner at Burdick's Restaurant in Walpole, New Hampshire, with Marianna McGuffin and Anne Taylor Davis (or Anna Davis Taylor), on September 15, 2010.


Schyler is a student in Ashley Driggs's class at Farmersville Elementary in Farmersville, Ohio: You are awesome I wish I could give you a round of a plaus. Im curius about how you look.

Tomie: If I may say, I look pretty good for my age... 76 plus.

And the Emmy Goes to...

Tomie dePaola: Best Portrayal of a Cook in a Cooking Show, Movie, Play or Musical

Greg Berger: Best Portrayal of a Farmer in a Cooking Show, Movie, Play or Musical

("Ciao Italia" Episode #2018: "Eat Cardoons!/Mangiate Cardi!" just aired on New Hampshire Public Television.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

No One Told Me

Leslie is in Mrs. Marsh's second grade class at Elkhorn Elementary in Excelsior Springs, Missouri: What is it like too be kids favret auther auornd the world?

Tomie: I didn't know that I was. But, I am glad that YOU like my books.

Better Than Fertilizer

Carol Turner from the Heron School in Sacramento, California wrote letters with her second grade students: Another influence your writing had on the class was during our plant unit. Each day students would go outside to water their plants. Sure enough, students started blowing three kisses to their plants "to make them grow." This is a direct result of reading the Strega Nona books. As a teacher, this was pure joy as I watched students taking care of another living thing in a loving way.

Tomie: I'm going to pass along that tip to the gardeners.


Mayao in Mrs. Garcia's second grade class at Power Ranch Elementary in Gilbert, Arizona: I feel geleses becas you are a grat ilishtater.

Tomie: Don't feel jealous, Mayao. I studied illustration for many years, and I've illustrated books for nearly 50 years. You have a lot of time to become better at drawing.

Mangiate Cardi!

Tomie dePaola, Greg Berger and Spring Ledge Farm, will be featured on a new episode of "Ciao Italia," with Mary Ann Esposito, this Saturday, October 16, 2010, 12:30 p.m., on New Hampshire Public Television.

"Ciao Italia" Episode #2018: "Eat Cardoons!/Mangiate Cardi!"

This episode has been airing on public televisions throughout the U.S. prior to October 16. Check local public television listings to learn if it is scheduled to air in your area in the future.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Reaction in the NEW YORK TIMES

Here's one of the Letters to the Editor in today's NEW YORK TIMES regarding the NEW YORK TIMES, October 8, 2010, Front Page article "Picture Books No Longer a Staple." Click once to enlarge the letter.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


JOY TO THE WORLD: CHRISTMAS STORIES AND SONGS will be published tomorrow by G. P. Putnam's Sons. It features THE NIGHT OF LAS POSADAS, THE STORY OF THE THREE WISE KINGS, THE LEGEND OF THE POINSETTIA, and five classic Christmas carols.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sweatin' Clean

Haidyn in Miss Ballas's first grade class at Mathewson Elementary in Milford, Connecticut:
Why can't you draw Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck and only your characters? One day will you be able to visit me and my family for a little bit for like I don't know 2 minutes or so? My family can do anything for a special guest. When a special guest is at my house I'll clean it so hard I would start to sweat.

Tomie: Do you also clean your bedroom so hard that you sweat?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Big Anthony Gets Married to a Turkey

Charlotte is a second grader in Ms. Coats's class at St. Frances Cabrini School in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and has a story idea for Tomie: Big Anthony Gets Married to a Turkey.

Big Anthony Takes Santa Hostage

Brock is a second grader in Ms. Coats's class at St. Frances Cabrini School in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and has a story idea for Tomie: Big Anthony Takes Santa Hostage.

Dinner with Mary Louise

We had dinner with Mary Louise Hancock (seated) and Juliana Eades a couple of weeks ago. Mary Louise, now 90 years old, is an important Democratic politico in New Hampshire. PEOPLE magazine wrote in 1988 prior to the New Hampshire presidential primary that a visit with Mary Louise was "an obligatory stop" for Democratic candidates.

Juliana is president of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Applause! Applause!

Angie in Joy Michalsen's second grade class at Gallimore School in Canton, Michigan wrote:
We are reading books. We like your books. We clap.

What Do You REALLY Think, CC?

"CC" from Philadelphia shared her thoughts in the Comments section of the NEW YORK TIMES regarding the October 8, 2010 article "Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children."

"Clearly written by someone who has no clue about the sea change that has taken place in children's book publishing since the golden days of GOODNIGHT MOON, Dr. Seuss, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, FROG AND TOAD, STREGA NONA and so many other works of genius. In those days books were developed under the auspices of book editors with backgrounds in literature and art and culture working for book publishers. Now books are developed by marketing departments in divisions of multinational corporations. Editors seldom have much experience in children's literature, education, art or anything cultural, and even if they do have some literacy qualifications they have no power to select what's published. That is left to a committee where most attendees' jobs may depend on whether or not the stories they support sell. Then there are the bazillions spent on giving celebrities, with no professional connection to children, million dollar contracts for pathetic ghost written books with massive promotion, while efforts by real writers are expected to be promoted solely by the unknown author using their own money and what ever connections they can drum up. Personally I know dozens of very talented very committed mid list picture book authors and illustrators who have left the field. Tired of being badly treated and having their books taken out of print after 6 months because of not having met arbitrary sale figures set for that time. And what about almost all the independent specialist children's bookstores with informed staffs who have been driven out of business by special deals arranged with the giant multiple bookstores. There are more than a few reasons for the decline in the sale of picture books."

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Friends in New London

Nancy Paulsen and her husband, David Friend, visited for a couple of days. Nancy is Tomie's editor (Nancy Paulsen Books at the Penguin Young Readers Group). Tomie and Nancy tweaked the text for STREGA NONA'S GIFT (Fall 2011), and fine-tuned the flap copy. They also worked on the story for his Fall 2012 book.

David is an editor for VANITY FAIR, and a writer. He is currently researching and interviewing for his next book project.

As we were having dinner last night at Rockwell's at the (New London) Inn, the hostess unwittingly seated Nancy and David's friends from New York, Marianne, Will and John Shearer, next to our table. Will is a freshman at Colby-Sawyer College, and this weekend is Parents' Weekend. Nancy and David and the Shearers had not seen each other for awhile. Small world.

Friday, October 8, 2010


"Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children"
NEW YORK TIMES, October 8, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Bribe?

Jennette from Vancouver sent flowers for Tomie's birthday.

Since she will be competing later this year for Canadian Fruitcake Queen (judged in Tomie's house), could it be that she sent "birthday" flowers to improve her chances for victory?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Manly Flowers

Tomie's publisher requested "manly flowers" from the florist for Tomie's birthday. The publisher did not want carnations and balloons sent.

Who knew "Baby's Breath" were manly flowers?

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Light of Tomie's Life

Sally (Kimball) Campbell visited this weekend. She was in town to attend her 50th class reunion at Colby-Sawyer College (called Colby Junior College 50 years ago).

Tomie and Sally met when Tomie acted in a production at the college in 1959, and Sally, as a student, was on the production crew and lighted the show.

Much later, Sally was a schoolteacher and Tomie visited her school.

She continues to light up his life.