Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Victoria and Great-Auntie Penny

My name is Victoria. I am eight years old and I live in England. My mother grew up in Connecticut; so did many other of my American relatives. My Great Grandmother Cornelia knew the Downey family. You probably won't remember her, but my great-auntie Penny, who lives on Lake Sunapee, got you to sign my first book of yours, 26 Fairmount Avenue. I like your books so much because they draw me in. It feels like I'm standing right by you when I read. I also like them because I know a lot about America and the books are really interesting to me because the Tomie in the books sounds too little to be eight but too smart to be five. Have you ever been to England? I hear you have four dogs.

Tomie: Victoria, I have been to England several times. I have dear friends in London and elsewhere in England.

I now only have one dog, Bronte.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Agreeable Tomie

Tomie has agreed to participate in the National Book Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC, during the weekend of September 24th and 25th. Tomie has been invited many times in the past, but has declined until now.

Tomie has also agreed to be part of this year's Connecticut Book Fair at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut, during the weekend of November 12th and 13th.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Madame Pince's Blog

Connie Harrison is a media specialist for Dearborn (MI) Public Schools. She asked the question regarding the "Jamie O'Rourke" books that was answered yesterday. Her blog is interesting. The link is to the "About" section, and it explains the reason for the blog. Click "Home" to see more of the blog.

It's a Wrap!

Tomie will give a prepared speech when he accepts the 2011 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award at the American Library Association convention in New Orleans in late June. The speech has to be submitted to THE HORN BOOK by April 1 so that it can be published in the July issue of THE HORN BOOK.

It has to be recorded in early April so that recordings are ready to be given to the attendees of the Caldecott Newbery Wilder Awards Dinner.

Tomie finished work on the speech this past weekend.

A profile of Tomie will also be published in the July issue of THE HORN BOOK. Tomie asked Barbara Elleman, author of TOMIE DEPAOLA, HIS ART & HIS STORIES, to write the profile. Barbara just sent her finished piece to THE HORN BOOK.

It seems as if everyone has completed their assignments!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

BIG POTATO and POOKA Inspiration

Connie: I'm a librarian in Michigan and I've been using Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato and Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka to teach students the difference between a folktale and an original story. I wanted to expand on the lesson by showing students other versions of the folktale that Tomie dePaola used as a basis for the first Jamie book.

Tomie: I got the idea for JAMIE O'ROURKE AND THE BIG POTATO after reading "A Big Potato," by John Brodison. I got the idea for JAMIE O'ROURKE AND THE POOKA after reading "The Kildare Pooka," by Patrick Kennedy. When you read "A Big Potato" and "The Kildare Pooka," you might be surprised that they were enough to inspire my stories.

STREGA NONA was inspired by "The Porridge Pot" story.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Book Author Luncheon

Left to Right:
Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, Tomie, Kristan Higgins

Tomie, Mary-Ann Tirone Smith and Kristan Higgins spoke at the 2011 Book Author Luncheon sponsored by the Greater Meriden (Connecticut) Branch of the American Association of University Women this past Saturday, March 29, 2011.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Low-key 60th Birthday Party

Roger Crossgrove, one of Tomie's painting instructors at Pratt Institute, wrote an article about Tomie's 60th birthday party in 1994. Pages 16 and 17 of the newsletter.

Five Questions for Tomie dePaola

Friday, March 18, 2011

Farmer Tomie

Ryan, Matt, Julienne, Jacob and Kelsey are fifth graders in Ms. Skapof's class at Williston Central School in Williston, Vermont. They created the book FARMER TOMIE GOES TO THE FAIR.

Page one:
Once there was an adventurous farmer named Tomie. Farmer Tomie was on his way to the fair along with his sheep, Goldilocks, and his dog, Runaway.

The text for the above drawing:
Farmer Tomie saw the tiger in the jungle but the tiger didn't see him yet. They tried to runaway but Runaway accidentally stepped on a branch.

"Wait!" the tiger said.

"Run!" Tomie shouted.

"Stop! My name is Hobbes. You must be Farmer Tomie and Runaway the Dog and Goldilocks the Sheep," said Hobbes. "I was told to take you to Joe the Monkey. He was an acrobat in the fair. Hop on!"

"Okay, come on Runaway and Goldilocks," said Tomie.

"Okay!" they said.

Last page:
After meeting Ellie Elephant, Sara the Snake, Hobbes the Tiger, and Joe the Monkey, Tomie made it to the fair just in time for the animal show...

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


MY FIRST LEGENDS: THE STORY OF BLUEBONNET is now available from Grosset & Dunlap. The board book story is excerpted from THE LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET, AN OLD TALE OF TEXAS.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Who Are Franny and Fuffy?

Grace is the artist. She is in the second grade at Ancillae-Assumpta Academy in Wyncote, Pennsylvania.

Reza: Who are Franny and Fuffy?

Tomie: Franny and Fuffy are my twin cousins. They went to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. That's why I wanted to go to Pratt after I graduated from high school. They were successful photographers. Kathryn (Fuffy) has a website.

Singapore Artist (4)

Chavela is five years old, and is the artist. She is in Tabby Tan's class at Far Eastern Kindergarten in Singapore.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Has Anyone Found Lost Vages, Nevada?

The students in Kris Hillman and Patty DallaBetta's second grade class at College Park Elementary in Irvine, California, wrote letters.

Mitchell: Did you write IRA SLEEPS OVER?
Tomie: No.

Vivian: Were you in the book IRA SLEEPS OVER?
Tomie: No.

Joshua: Where do you live in Holly Wood, Lost Vages?
Tomie: I live in New London, New Hampshire.

Singapore Artist (3)

Marcus is five years old, and is the artist. He is in Tabby Tan's class at Far Eastern Kindergarten in Singapore.

Monday, March 14, 2011

An Antique Pan

Claire DeSisto and Lisa Morlock's second grade class at Middle Gate School in Newtown, Connecticut, wrote letters.

Lisa: Do you still have the pan from when you were 5 years old and you made your first omlet?
Tomie: Yes, I still have the pan I used to make, with my parents' help, a pop-eye for my almost-sixth-birthday dinner. I told the story in WHAT A YEAR, the fourth book in the "26 Fairmount Avenue" chapter book series.


Melissa Miller's second grade class at Edgewood Primary School in Bloomington, Indiana, wrote letters.

Addie: Please write me back tomie. I will be your biggest fan forever.
Tomie: You're my BFF!

Susan, Tomie and Josef

On Wednesday, March 9, Susan Leidy, Deputy Director of the Currier Museum of Art, gave Tomie a tour of the Museum in Manchester, New Hampshire. Susan and Tomie look rather nice next to the Josef Albers painting.

Photo Credit: Neva Cole

Measuring Up

On Wednesday, March 9, Tomie spoke at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, as the New Hampshire State Department of Education, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, and others presented MEASURING UP, a statewide effort to document and analyze the level of access to - and participation in - arts education in New Hampshire's K-12 public schools.

Photo Credit: Neva Cole

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Little Grunt and Little Tomie

Laurie Armstrong's third grade class at Barrington Place Elementary in Sugar Land, Texas, wrote letters.

Madeena: My second favorite book is LITTLE GRUNT AND THE BIG EGG. Did you know Little Grunt looks just like you when you were small?
Tomie: I see the resemblance. I do like Little Grunt's clothes.

Lindsay: I love the book THE LEGEND OF THE POINSETTIA. It has a good meaning. The meaning is you can give anything and it means something specil.

Natalie: It seems that you're very famous and and you're like a movie star.
Tomie: A famous movie star like Daniel Radcliffe?

Illustration Copyright 1990 by Tomie dePaola. From the book, LITTLE GRUNT AND THE BIG EGG, published by Holiday House in 1990, and G. P. Putnam's Sons in 2006.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Origin of the Onion

Mrs. Ramsey's third grade class at Chesterfield School in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, had a question about THE MYSTERIOUS GIANT OF BARLETTA.

Q: We know that this story is a folktale, but we wondered if you got the idea for the onion in the story from the ball that the real statue is holding.
A: The onion was in the original folktale that I retold.

Right Now!

Left to Right:
Alta, age 3, "Wiggy," age 95

On December 24, 2010, Alta's great-grandmother had barely entered Alta's grandmother's house when Alta told Wiggy that she had a very special book and she wanted Wiggy to read it to Alta right away! The special book was the newly published board book edition of Tomie's illustrated edition of THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

Dear Mr. dePaola

Katelyn is in a fifth grade reading class at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

"My class at school is now reading a book entitled DEAR MR. HENSHAW. The main character, Leigh Botts, has to ask his favorite author some questions about his work... I have narrowed my list of questions to seven key thoughts I felt would assist me in learning from you and your writing and drawing..."

What inspired you to begin writing books?
Tomie: I wanted to write and illustrate books when I was four years old. I was inspired to write by the books that my mom read to me.

How many books have your currently written?
Tomie: I have written and/or illustrated nearly 250 books. I've written the stories for about half of those books.

Do you prefer writing or illustrating?
Tomie: I like illustrating first, and writing second.

What is your favorite book you have written?

Are there any characters you feel you have a closer connection with because he has similar characteristics in common with you?
Tomie: Tomie! The chapter books are autobiographical, so I feel a closer connection to me, Tomie, in the chapter books.

Do you try to write and draw each day?
Tomie: I probably draw a little each day, but I don't write each day.

How many practice drafts of a project do you complete before your script goes to the company that will publish it?
Tomie: My stories usually go through several drafts before my editor and I feel they're ready for publication. Each story goes through a different number of rewrites.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Do We HAVE to Write to Santa?!

Annette Black is a teacher at All Saints Catholic School in Norman, Oklahoma.

"My first grade class this year has not been extremely interested in listening to books that take longer than ten minutes to read. I read them quite a few of your picture books throughout the year. Last week, I pulled out 26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE and began reading it to the class. I got a reaction that I never expected from this group of children. They were totally captivated from the first page. The book provided a springboard for lots of discussions, all spontaneous, about history, families, movies and moving to name a few. Thanks to YouTube we even got to see Shirley Temple (a never-heard-of-name for many of the children) sing and dance.

"On Friday afternoon, during an inside recess, some of my students decided to write you a letter. I was again very surprised because of the opposition I received when asking them to write a letter to Santa in December.

"This morning I was reminded at least 25 times that I promised I would start the next Tomie dePaola book today! We started HERE WE ALL ARE right after morning prayers at the insistence of the mob..."

Tomie: The power of the ASCS First Grade Mob!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Strega Amelia Goes to Jail

Evan is in Teresa Adams's second grade class at Fairview Elementary in Columbia, Missouri. He wrote a story.

Strega Nona and the Baby

One day in a town in Calabria, a long time ago Strega Nona went to her garden to gather spicese. While in her garden she heard the cry of a baby so she went towards the sound. When she got to where the sound was comming from she saw a baby. So Strega Nona took the baby home to take care of it.

When she got home she told Big Anthony to build the baby a crib. While Big Anthony was busy Strega Nona made a lost baby sign to put in town square.

The next day Strega Nona went to check on the baby. But the baby was gone. So she went to town and ask everybody if they took the baby. But every body said no.

Then Strega Nona knew who took the baby it was Strega Amelia who took it so she marched down to Strega Amelia house to get the baby back. When she got thier Strega Amelia wasn't thier. So Strega Nona went to find her.

Then Strega Nona found her got the baby and found the rightful owener.

Then Strega Amelia in jail.

The End

Monday, March 7, 2011

Waiting for Spring

Riley is the artist. He is in Julie Brendlinger's first and second grade class at Rayne Elementary in Home, Pennsylvania.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Kitten

Mary DeAmbrose's second grade class at Franklin School in Brockton, Massachusetts, wrote.

Matilda: I love the Streaga Nona book because it teaches a lot of kids a lesson even me. I learned to be myslef and to never lie. It makes me feel as happy as a kitten.

Tomie: Happy kitten feelings are good.

Timmy: Your my superhero!

Tomie: No, no! You're MY superhero!

The Story of Strega Ducky

Frankie is in Mrs. Schmidt's second grade class at Middle Gate Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut: I made a character like Strega Nona and it is called Strega Ducky. When we where watching a Tomie vidieo I tride to draw Strega Nona. The head looked like a duck's head. That's the story of Strega Ducky.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Singapore Artist (2)

Gladys is five years old, and is the artist. She is in Tabby Tan's class at Far Eastern Kindergarten in Singapore.

Click on the drawing for a closer look.

Singapore Artist (1)

Ruth is five years old, and is the artist. She is in Tabby Tan's class at Far Eastern Kindergarten in Singapore.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Strega Nona Meets the Three Bears

Alyssia is in Debi Barlow's second grade class at Yale Elementary in Aurora, Colorado: I'm getting to be a big kid. My birthday is April 15. I hope you can come. If not just send me a package.

Alyssia wrote a story: Strega Nona Meets the Three Bears
There was an old lady and her name was Strega Nona. Strega Nona was a witch. One day Strega Nona went to the woods. There she saw a house. Inside was three bowls of porridge. She tried all three bowls. The last one was the best bowl. Next, she wanted to rest. She tried all three chairs. The middle chair was the best. Next she was very sleepy. She found 3 beds. The biggest bed was the best. The 3 bears arrived home. They found out everything. When they got up stairs they found Strega Nona in papas bed. Strega Nona woke up. She did not run. She got out her magic pot and said the magic words. The 3 bears got scared and ran out. Strega Nona kept the house and lived happily ever after. The End.