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Author and Artist Tomie dePaola Dies

April 1, 2020

Yesterday

In the darkness there is light this morning. I found “The Art Lesson” on the shelf and I wake to beautiful snow.
I have fond memories of reading the Strega Nona books by Tomie dePaola to my sons when they were young but my favorite book of his was “The Art Lesson”. It’s about about reaching a compromise with his teacher on drawing in class.
The book opens with Tommy knowing he wants to be an artist when he grows up and draws pictures everywhere he goes. From age 4 he knew he was going to be an artist and author.
I hope all the little artists in the world are drawing every day all day.
When Tomie was in grade 2, after drawing on his math work, he told his teacher he wasn’t going to be an “arithmetic-er”.
Tomie’s stories are timeless and I’m sure will live in the hearts of people who have grown up with them.

Many of you might know author and artist Patricia P. She was a good friend of Tomie’s and wrote this beautiful letter honoring him.

My Dears,

If you haven’t already heard I am the bearer of very sad news. I just lost a friend of 37 years, author, illustrator, story teller, artist, Tomie dePaola. Tomie passed from this life at 2:30 pm Eastern Standard Time yesterday from complications resulting from a very bad fall from the week before. Tomie was 10 years older than myself, 85. He was probably one of the most lauded and well-known children’s authors not only in our country but the whole world for that matter.

Perhaps his best-known stories were the Strega Nona series. Most children in our country were raised on, and certainly possessed several of Tomie’s books. I know my children heard and loved his stories most of their young lives. 

I remember I was thrilled some 37 years ago to not only meet him, because I had just become a published author myself, but I was fulfilling a dream to be near a person that I had admired for so many years.

I always used to say to Tomie, “you remind me so much of my father.” Although Tomie embraced his Italian lineage he was also half Irish and physically looked identical to my own Irish father.
I guess what I loved the most about him was his delicious sense of humor and the mischievous sparkle in his eyes and his Puckish grin when he was telling a particularly tasty story.
In the old days, when all of is authors travelled a lot between school visits, and most especially conventions of librarians and teachers…it was common for all of us authors at the end of the day to congregate in the hotel lounge, sip lovely wine and regale each other with tales of our experiences while out on the road. Tomie’s stories were always a little off color, irreverent, and so hilariously funny we would all fall on the floor laughing. Then Tomie would ease back in his chair and beam as he watched us struggle to breathe between guffaws.
Certainly, all of us illustrators were uncommonly influenced by his genius, his use of color and delightful composition. Each piece he did for any given book was flawless and brimmed with mirth and magic that went straight to anyone’s heart that viewed it.
I shall miss this amazing soul…truly the world is diminished that he has left us. But the glory is that his legacy shall live on as long as his wonderful work remains in print, in film in portraits and galleries.
I feel deeply honored that I knew him and called him friend.

God speed Tomie, until we meet again,
Love love love Trisha

READ ABOUT Tomie DePaola in the US News

One comment

  1. Oh! This is heart-breaking. Such a wonderful, talented person.



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