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

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Tomie dePaola, the celebrated author and illustrator of scores of beloved children’s guides together with the “Strega Nona” collection, whose heartwarming tales nurtured and delighted many younger generations, has died. He was 85.

He died on Monday at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health-related Centre in Lebanon, N.H., for the reason that of troubles from a operation he experienced after a slide, Doug Whiteman, his literary agent, informed The Involved Press.

Mr. dePaola stirred imaginations by crafting or illustrating extra than 270 textbooks. The ones that resonated most with youngsters, he advised The Instances in 1999, have been motivated by his possess life.

His grandmother and good-grandmother formed the basis for the figures in “Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs,” a person of his most renowned guides, which dealt with the demise of every single woman. And “Oliver Button Is a Sissy,” a ebook about a younger boy who is bullied by his peers for preferring dancing and reading through to undertaking sporting activities, was encouraged by his have activities as a kid.

Like Oliver Button, Mr. dePaola was a faucet dancer when he was youthful, and he insisted on dangling his faucet shoes from his shoulder to the chagrin of his father, he mentioned in the 1999 job interview. But immediately after he commenced carrying out, he added, his father took delight in his abilities.

Like Mr. dePaola, Oliver Button was rescued by an unfamiliar helper who crossed out the word “sissy,” scribbled on a wall, and changed it with an additional S-phrase: “star.”

“I was called sissy in my young everyday living,” he said in the 1999 profile, “but as a substitute of internalizing these unpleasant experiences, I externalize them in my perform.”

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

A renowned artist, Mr. dePaola received many awards, like the Smithson Medal from the Smithsonian Institution and the Kerlan Award from the College of Minnesota, and he was the U.S. nominee for the worldwide Hans Christian Andersen Award in illustration in 1990. He won the 2011 Children’s Literature Legacy Award for his “substantial and long lasting contribution to literature for small children,” in accordance to his web page.

In spite of nearly common admiration for Mr. dePaola’s textbooks, some have been briefly banned in the past, together with “Oliver Button Is a Sissy,” which was prohibited by a faculty in Minneapolis for currently being “anti-sport” and “Strega Nona,” about a kindly, older witch in southern Italy, which was banned by American libraries for portray magic in a beneficial gentle.

Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, in which Mr. dePaola lived and labored in a renovated 200-12 months-previous barn, wrote on Twitter on Monday about the writer’s dying, describing him as “a male who brought a smile to thousands of Granite Point out kids who read through his books, cherishing them for their amazing illustrations.”

Mr. dePaola had acknowledged he would be an artist considering that he was 4, he recalled in an job interview in 2002.

“‘Oh, I know what I’m likely to be when I mature up,’” he recounted telling his family members. “‘Yes, I’m going to be an artist, and I’m likely to create tales and draw photographs for books, and I’m heading to sing and tap dance on the stage’,” he said.

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



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