Tomie dePaola

I’m in love! (Sorry B…I know we’ve been married for almost 40 years, but I can’t help it, I’ve fallen in love with Tomie dePaola). Never met him, but just look at the photo above and you can see that Mr. dePaola is a happy person, and he certainly brings a lot of happiness to the world of young people of all ages! I’m completely captured with his work again and in a whole new way.

He has long been a family favorite author/illustrator — we loved his Strega Nona, and his Pancakes For Breakfast. And I use many of his books in my classroom. So I was thrilled recently to discover his autobiographical series, 26 Fairmount Avenue.

A Note From the Author in the first book:

Over the years, letters from my young readers have increasingly asked, “When are you going to write a chapter book?” But the idea seemed daunting.
Then one day, my long-time assistant, Bob Hechtel, said, “I have an idea for a chapter book for you — in fact, for a series of chapter books. Why don’t you write about all the things that you talk about from your childhood, but can’t put into a single picture book.” DING — the bell went off – the light bulb lit. “That’s it!

The series begins in 1938, when Mr. dePaola was four years old, and continues on into the War years. So far there are 7 books, full of life and wonderful stories about his family (to whom you become very attached) and his experiences as he grows and changes. And it’s fascinating to see the emerging artist, for he certainly was an artist at that very young age.

I can’t wait until the next one comes out. I also can’t wait to introduce my students to these books and see what they think. I hope they enjoy them as much as I did. And even if you don’t normally read many children’s books, this series is worth reading. It’s delightful to experience that period of time through the eyes of a gifted young person.

Mr. dePaola won the Newbery Honor Award for the first book, and he won my heart with this series.

Tomie’s blog

• Some very nice video clips of Tomie telling stories about his life and art

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11 thoughts on “Tomie dePaola

  1. Les

    Oh, this sounds like a wonderful series! I’m trying to fit more children’s books into my reading schedule and this first book in dePaola’s series sounds like just the ticket!

    Off to peruse his website…

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  2. Robin

    Les, it IS a wonderful series. Enjoy his blog!…it’s a real kick! And that’s so cool that there was a post about your neighborhood school. When I was perusing his blog, I found these two posts about one of our 3rd graders and my friend, his teacher!

    Bookfool, if you spend any time listening to him, or reading his blog, or reading his books, you’ll find that he is absolutely charming and adorable! He’s special!

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  3. Nan

    I loved this series. And I love him. My favorite is his Christmas book which is really for adults. He talks about the various places he spent Christmas over the years – Christmas Remembered. You may recall that we now have our own homage to his art in the form of our front door. :<) He lives in the same town as Tom's parents and we love driving by his house and imagining him inside.

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  4. JoAnn

    My family has loved Tomie dePaola for years!! I know we have 26 Fairmount Avenue somewhere in the kids bookcases upstairs, but I haven’t read it. Will have to take a look…

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  5. Robin

    Nan, I remembered the photo of your front door, but had forgotten that you were inspired by the cover of his Christmas Book! I went back and found your post, and enjoyed with new eyes!

    JoAnn, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy!

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  6. Tara

    You are kidding me! I love Tomie, too, and I didn’t know about these books. I definitely want to get these for the girl. Are there any illustrations inside?

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  7. Bybee

    I loved Strega Nona and Pancakes For Breakfast…am very sure I’d like his autobiographical series.
    I’m in love, too…he’s one giant twinkle!

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