Tomie Depaola Bio, Wiki, Age, Family, Gay, Books, Net worth, Death, Cause of Death

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Tomie Depaola Biography

Thomas Anthony “Tomie” dePaola was a children’s book author and illustrator famous for his Strega Nona picture book series. He died on March 30, 2020 at the age of 85 of complications from a surgery following an injury from a fall last week. He received a lifetime achievement award from the American Library Association in 2011.

Tomie Depaola Age

Depaola was 85 years at the time of his death; he was born on September 15, 1934 in Meriden, Connecticut, United States.

Tomie Depaola Family

Tomie was the son of Joseph and Florence DePaola. He had three siblings; a brother Joseph (nicknamed Buddy), and two sisters, Judie and Maureen.

His family is the central characters in a number of his autobiographical books, such as “26 Fairmont Avenue,” about growing up in Connecticut during the Great Depression. His book ‘The Baby Sister’ is about Maureen being born.

Tomie Depaola Education

DePaola studied art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In 1969 he received a Master of Fine Arts degree from California College of Arts and Crafts and a doctoral equivalency from Lone Mountain College in San Francisco.

Tomie Depaola Gay

Tomie was gay, his story “Settin” in his folk-tale compilation “Front Porch Tales and North Country Whoppers” has a gay couple as a character which he told scbwi.blogspot was based on a true story.

“Actually, we didn’t know we were gay at the time. We were both, we were living in this farmhouse because we had a spiritual ideal, we were going to become – this was a very popular thing in the far-out Catholic Church in the 50’s – it was called a Lay Institute, I think. We met in a monastery, and we wanted to have kind of like a little, simple monastery. And we had no idea that we were… I mean, I knew I was gay, but Jack, he was older than I was and he didn’t know he was gay. And we didn’t live a gay life, we lived a life of two friends. And that actually happened, that whole thing of sitting there with no one saying a word!”

Tomie Depaola Wife

Tomie had no wife as he was gay, he neither had a husband.

Tomie Depaola Career

Tomie began his career teaching art at Chamberlayne Junior College in Boston from 1972 to 1973. He later joined Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire, as an associate professor, designer, and technical director in the speech and theater department and as a writer and set and costume designer for the Children’s Theatre Project (1973 – 1976).

In 1976 he joined New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire where he taught art until he retired in 1978 to devout his time in writing and illustrating books.

He also made appearances in movies such as Barney & Friends as himself and also in the Jim Henson Company series Telling Stories with Tomie dePaola as himself.

On May 18, 2009, the Pratt Institute honored him with an honorary doctorate and also on May 20, 2018 the New Hampshire Institute of Art honored him with an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts

Tomie Depaola Books

In 1965 he published his first illustrated book in the Coward-McCann series “Science is what and why”: Sound, written by Lisa Miller. In 1966 he published his first written and illustrated book “The Wonderful Dragon of Timlin”, published by Bobbs-Merrill.

Many of his books bring to life folktales, legends, and spirituality — he often incorporated images of a white dove among the pages. Christmas, his favorite holiday, was a popular subject of many of his works exploring traditions of the season, and offered some storylines for Strega Nona.

He worked on over 270 books in more than half a century of publishing, and nearly 25 million copies have been sold worldwide and his books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Tomie Depaola Strega Nona Series

The Associated Press writes that his most endearing character Strega Nona, originated as a doodle at a dull faculty meeting at Colby Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire, where dePaola was a member of the theater department. The first tale was based on one of his favorite stories as a child, about a pot that keeps producing porridge. “Strega Nona: An Original Tale,” which came out in 1975, was a Caldecott finalist for best illustrated work. Other books in the series include “Strega Nona’s Magic Lessons” and “Strega Nona Meets Her Match.”

In 2013 during an interview with The Associated Press, he said that Strega Nona was popular as she is like everybody’s grandmother; “I think it’s because she’s like everybody’s grandmother. She’s cute, she’s not pretty, she’s kind of funny-looking, but she’s sweet, she’s understanding. And she’s a little saucy, she gets a little irritated every once in a while.”

Tomie Depaola Death

Tomie died on March 30, 2020 at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Tomie Depaola Cause of Death

According to his literary agent, Doug Whiteman he died of complications following surgery following a bad injury from a fall last week.

Tomie Depaola Obituary

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