Thomas Anthony dePaola, perhaps better known as Tomie dePaola, was born in Meriden, Connecticut on September 15th. His parents provided a rich background of Irish and Italian heritage. Tomie knew from an early age that he wanted to create picture books. His mother read to Tomie and his brother and they grew in their love of books.
DePaola credits the Saturday morning radio show, "Let's Pretend," in helping to develop his imagination. Many of Tomie’s stories come right from his own childhood. His Italian grandmother inspired the grandmother in Watch Out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup.
His career as a professional artist and designer paralleled his success as an author. Tomie dePaola is a prolific writer and sometimes produces two to four children's books a year.
A teacher at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire, DePaola has also designed many murals that adorn the walls of Catholic churches and monasteries across New England. Tomie dePaola has published almost 200 children's books in fifteen different countries. He remains one of the most popular creators of books for children, receiving more than 100,000 fan letters each year.
Tomie lives in an interesting house in New Hampshire with his four dogs. His studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.
The recipient of many honors, DePaola's awards include the Aesop award in 1994 for Christopher, the Holy Giant; the Golden Kite Award honor in 1987 for What the Mailman Brought; a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor in 1982 for The Friendly Beasts: An Old English Christmas Card; the Golden Kite Award in 1982 for Giorgio's Village; a Caldecott Honor in 1976 for Strega Nona; a 2000 Newbery Honor for 26 Fairmount Avenue.