Tomie dePaola Biography
Tomie dePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1934 to a family of Irish
and Italian background. His determination to create books for children led to
a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and an MFA from the
California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California.
It drove him through the years of teaching, designing greeting cards and
stage sets, and painting church murals until 1965, when he illustrated his
first children's book, Sound, by Lisa Miller for Coward-McCann.
Eventually, freed of other obligations, he plunged full time into both
writing and illustrating children's books.
He names Fra Angelico and Giotto, Georges Rouault, and Ben Shahn as major
influences on his work, but he soon found his own unique style. His
particular way with color, line, detail, and design have earned him many of
the most prestigious awards in his field, among them a Caldecott Honor Award
for Strega Nona, the Smithsonian Medal from the Smithsonian
Institution, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for his
"singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic
Library Association's Regina Medal for his "continued distinguished
contribution," and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion. He
was also the 1990 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen
Medal for illustration.
Tomie dePaola has published more than 200 children's books in fifteen different countries. He lives in New Hampshire with his dog, where his studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.
This biography was last updated on 06/12/2011.
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