Tomie dePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1934 to a family of Irish and Italian background. By the time he could hold a pencil, he knew what his life's work would be. 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 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. - He has been published for over 30 years.
- Over 5 million copies of his books have sold worldwide.
- His books have been published in over 15 different countries.
- He receives nearly 100,000 fan letters each year. Tomie dePaola has received virtually every significant recognition forhis books in the children's book world, including: - Caldecott Honor Award from American Library Association
- Newbery Honor Award from American Library Association
- Smithson Medal from Smithsonian Institution
- USA nominee in illustration for Hans Christian Andersen Medal
- Regina Medal from Catholic Library Association copyright (c) 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.
How did panettone , the rich Italian Christmas bread, get its name? With tongue firmly in cheek, dePaola provides this confection as a reply. Chubby Serafina, the baker Antonio's daughter, spends her days eating candy and weeping by the window. For although her father adores her and gives her the best of everything, Tony is convinced there is no man worthy of her. Then Angelo, a wealthy nobleman, falls in love with Serafina and enlists the help of three meddlesome ``aunties'' to win her father's approval. In return for Serafina's hand in marriage, Angelo sets Tony up in his own bakery in Milano, where he becomes wonderfully rich and famous from sales of an unusually shaped bread: pan di Tonio , or panettone . The tale is a typically charming dePaolian effort, and the illustrations abound with his trademark coziness. Another nice touch: like Tony's currant-filled buns, the story is sprinkled with Italian words and phrases, translations of which are cleverly woven into the text. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)