Tomie dePaola, ‘Strega Nona’ Author and Illustrator, Dies at 85


Tomie dePaola, the celebrated author and illustrator of scores of beloved children’s textbooks together with the “Strega Nona” sequence, whose heartwarming stories nurtured and delighted several youthful generations, has died. He was 85.

He died on Monday at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinical Centre in Lebanon, N.H., for the reason that of problems from a medical procedures he had after a tumble, Doug Whiteman, his literary agent, advised The Associated Push.

Mr. dePaola stirred imaginations by crafting or illustrating a lot more than 270 guides. The types that resonated most with little ones, he advised The Occasions in 1999, were influenced by his own everyday living.

His grandmother and fantastic-grandmother shaped the basis for the people in “Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs,” a person of his most well known guides, which dealt with the loss of life of every lady. And “Oliver Button Is a Sissy,” a book about a young boy who is bullied by his friends for preferring dancing and reading to performing sports, was impressed by his own ordeals as a little one.

Like Oliver Button, Mr. dePaola was a faucet dancer when he was young, and he insisted on dangling his tap sneakers from his shoulder to the chagrin of his father, he explained in the 1999 job interview. But following he started carrying out, he additional, his father took pleasure in his skills.

Like Mr. dePaola, Oliver Button was rescued by an not known helper who crossed out the term “sissy,” scribbled on a wall, and changed it with one more S-term: “star.”

“I was known as sissy in my youthful lifestyle,” he explained in the 1999 profile, “but rather of internalizing these unpleasant ordeals, I externalize them in my operate.”

Mr. dePaola was born in Meriden, Conn., in 1934. He researched at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn — which named him “one of the prime 125 Pratt icons of all time” in 2012, in accordance to his internet site — and at the California Higher education of Arts in Oakland, Calif. and Lone Mountain College in San Francisco. He afterwards taught in the art and theater departments of colleges in California, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

A renowned artist, Mr. dePaola acquired a number of awards, which includes the Smithson Medal from the Smithsonian Institution and the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota, and he was the U.S. nominee for the worldwide Hans Christian Andersen Award in illustration in 1990. He gained the 2011 Children’s Literature Legacy Award for his “substantial and long lasting contribution to literature for kids,” according to his site.

In spite of virtually common admiration for Mr. dePaola’s textbooks, some were being briefly banned in the previous, which include “Oliver Button Is a Sissy,” which was prohibited by a college in Minneapolis for becoming “anti-sport” and “Strega Nona,” about a kindly, older witch in southern Italy, which was banned by American libraries for painting magic in a optimistic gentle.

Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, the place Mr. dePaola lived and worked in a renovated 200-year-outdated barn, wrote on Twitter on Monday about the writer’s demise, describing him as “a guy who introduced a smile to 1000’s of Granite Condition young children who study his textbooks, cherishing them for their fantastic illustrations.”

Mr. dePaola experienced known he would be an artist because he was 4, he recalled in an job interview in 2002.

“‘Oh, I know what I’m going to be when I improve up,’” he recounted telling his household. “‘Yes, I’m likely to be an artist, and I’m likely to publish tales and draw pics for books, and I’m likely to sing and faucet dance on the stage’,” he said.

“And I’ve managed to do all those items.”


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