Children's Authors/Tomie de Paola

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Biographical Information[edit | edit source]

Meet the author who has illustrated over 200 children’s books and written stories for many of those: Tomie dePaola. Mr. dePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut on September 15, 1934. From a very young age of 4, he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. Tomie dePaola said that he wanted to be an artist, write stories, draw pictures for books, and sing and dance on the stage (Reading Rockets, 2008).

dePaola is known for the humor he puts into his stories. “He produces a wide variety of books-original stories, folktales, informational text, and autobiographical tales-regardless of the genre, humor is often a part of his offering” (Elleman, 2009). “Bumps appear on the road of life, dePaola seems to tell his readers, but laughter and grins can help turn bad days into good ones. To this end, he supplies children with lots of opportunities to chuckle and chortle through a variety of stories. Children know that in Tomie dePaola's books they will find a place to smile. For dePaola, that's what creating children's books is all about” (Elleman, 2009).

Tomie dePaola is currently living in New London, New Hampshire where he continues to work on books. His works have been published for nearly 40 years; he has received virtually every significant recognition for books in the children’s book world, is a popular speaker, and has had many teaching opportunities ( Even though Mr. dePaola is 68, his energy is high and he continues to inspire new stories. When asked how long he will keep this up, Tomie dePaola stated, "I figure I have another good 20 years," he says with a smile. "And then I'll relax" (Reading Rockets, 2008).

Books of Interest[edit | edit source]

Jamie O’Rourke and the Pooka, is an Irish Folktale that was published in 2000. It is about a lazy man who relies on a Pooka to clean up his messes that he and his friends make while his wife is away. A great book to see some of dePaola’s humor and great illustrations. This is a great fiction book to be used to discuss laziness or talk about Irish Folktales.

Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato can be used to teach about folktales, more specifically Irish folktales. Jamie O’Rourke is so lazy, he won’t even help his wife plant, grow, and harvest potatoes. When his wife falls ill, it is up to him to find food to help them survive winter. He comes upon a leprechaun and catches him. This leprechaun offers a potato seed instead of a pot of gold. This book has great illustrations and fun humor. A fun book to use on St. Patrick’s Day.

The Cloud Book is a great non-fiction book for teaching the different types of clouds. It discusses the ten most common types of clouds, myths that have been inspired by their shapes, and how clouds can help predict weather changes. It is excellent to use with a weather unit and discussing with students the different types of clouds. The illustrations are great for helping you distinguish between the cloud types and remember those differences.

Pancakes for Breakfast is wonderful for using the imagination and being creative; it is a story without words. The whole book is all illustrations, leaving the story and words to the reader. dePaola did a great job with illustrations and anyone can put their own story to the pictures. The pictures represent an old lady attempting to make pancakes. She first has to gather all the ingredients before she can bake. On her journey of gathering, she encounters many problems from the help of her pets!

Tom is a fun book full of snapshot memories from Tomie dePaola’s childhood. They are memories that many children can relate to and will know. Showing his humor and childhood memories, dePaola shares stories about him and his grandfather. The illustrations help readers to see what dePaola saw and envisioned. A fun story about grandfathers and their relationships with grandsons.

Christmas Remembered is a compilation of Tomie dePaola’s memories of Christmases. It is his first book for all ages. He shares fifteen memories spanning across six decades. It shows his love for the Christmas season and vivid memories he has. There are occasional illustrations throughout the book to give emphasis to specific parts. The differences between this book and all the others discussed here are the chapters it is split into and the size of the font. The font is a little smaller and the text written more for older children and adults. However, they stories are fun to share among all ages.

Strega Nona takes a Vacation is just another one of his fun, humorous stories about Strega Nona. Strega Nona is one of dePaola’s most well known characters. Again, his illustrations are great for showing the humor and emotion that is happening in the story. Strega Nona had a dream about a time she spent at her grandmother’s house on the seashore. She is distracted by this dream throughout the day. She realizes she does need a vacation and decides to take one.

Tomie dePaola has a distinct way to illustrate his books and does a great job making the story come alive with the illustrations. Tomie dePaola has written some fun stories and added some great illustrations to go with them.

References[edit | edit source]

Tomie dePaola Webpage-[1]

Tomie dePaola Webpage Biography-[2]

Elleman, B. (2009). Talking with Tomie dePaola. Book Links, 18(6), 32-33. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Video Interview with Tomie dePaola by Reading Rockets-[3]

Reading Rockets Biography of Tomie dePaola-[4]

dePaola, Tomie. (1975). The Cloud Book. New York, NY: Holiday House.

dePaola, Tomie. (1978). Pancakes for Breakfast. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace & Company.

dePaola, Tomie. (1992). Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato. New York, NY: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers.

dePaola, Tomie. (1993). Tom. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

dePaola, Tomie. (2000). Jamie O’Rourke and the Pooka. New York, NY: Puffin Books.

dePaola, Tomie. (2000). Strega Nona Takes a Vacation. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

dePaola, Tomie. (2006). Christmas Remembered. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.