Popular children’s book author and illustrator, best known for his character Strega Nona, passed away on March 30 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. of complications from surgery following a fall. He was 85.
DePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, to a family of Irish and Italian heritage. He had one brother, Joseph, and two sisters, Judie and Maureen.
He had written and/or illustrated over 270 books, including Strega Nona, Tomie dePaola’s Mother Goose, Oliver Button Is a Sissy, and 26 Fairmount Avenue. Nearly 25 million copies of his books have been sold.
The author received many awards during his career, including the New Hampshire Governor’s Arts Award for Living Treasure the Smithson Medal from the Smithsonian Institution and the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota.
Pratt Institute and Georgetown University, among others, granted dePaola honorary doctoral degrees. Pratt Institute, in 2012, named him “one of the top 125 Pratt icons of all time.” In 1999, he was selected for the New Hampshire Governor’s Arts Award of Living Treasure.
In 2011, dePaola received a lifetime achievement award from the American Library Association.
Tomie leaves behind millions of fans, both young and old, who can celebrate his life and legacy through his books and illustrations.