Tomie dePaola: Books & Awards

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

The author of 250-plus books and counting, Tomie dePaola is an icon in the field of children's literature. In this lesson, we will discuss his numerous awards and take a look at some of the books that have made him popular.

Meet Tomie dePaola

When you think about prolific authors, who comes to mind? Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling? She's authored roughly 25 books. What about mystery mastermind Stephen King? His book count is about to top 100. Popular children's author, Dr. Seuss, joins the club at around 50.

The author at the center of this lesson not only exceeds those numbers, he beats them all combined! Tomie dePaola has published about 250 children's books, and is best known for his Strega Nona series and picture books from favorite nursery rhymes to Bible stories.

DePaola has been writing for more than fifty years. His first work, illustrating Sounds and Wheels in 1965, has been followed by five decades of writing and drawing with no signs of slowing down. He has books due out in 2017, adding to his sales of more than fifteen million copies across the world. Let's take a look at some of his most popular stories.


The Strega Nona Series

The Strega Nona series is one of dePaola's most popular. It includes titles like Strega Nona Meets Her Match, Strega Nona Takes a Vacation and Strega Nona's Magic Lessons. Other works in the series include Big Anthony and the Magic Ring and Merry Christmas, Strega Nona.

The series, 11 in total, follows Strega Nona, a grandmotherly witch (in fact, Strega Nona means ''Grandma Witch'' in Italian), who helps the people of Calabria. Strega Nona is aided by an assistant named ''Big Anthony.''

DePaola's first Strega Nona book won a Caldecott Honor Award in 1976.

Memoir Series

DePaola's Memoir Series includes eight stories from his personal life, starting when he was a young boy through the period of World War II. The first book in the series, 26 Fairmount Avenue, earned dePaola his Newbery Honor.

Each book, with titles like Here We All Are, On My Way, and Why? (The War Years), shares memories and recollections from different periods of the dePaola's life.

Big Books

The big books written by dePaola are a collection of stories that share a central theme. DePaola wrote several of these books including Big Book of Favorite Legends, Book of Bible Stories, Favorite Nursery Tales and a work on Mother Goose:

  • Favorite legends: Four books in one, this book includes ''Legend of the Indian Paintbrush,'' and ''Tony's Bread,'' among others.
  • Bible stories: From the story of the Garden of Eden to Jonah and the Whale, this collection features some of the most well known stories from the Bible.
  • Mother Goose: Two hundred favorites, including Little Miss Muffet and Three Little Kittens, make up this book.
  • Nursery tales: This book is a companion to the Mother Goose collection. Stories include ''Rumpelstiltskin'' and ''Goldilocks and the Three Bears.''

Bill and Pete

Want to follow Bill and Pete on interesting adventures? What if you knew that Bill was an alligator and Pete was a bird? These two friends appear in Bill and Pete, Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile and Bill and Pete to the Rescue, which includes the pair visiting the United States to solve a kidnapping.

The Barker Twins Series

Welsh terriers Morgan and Moffat are twins, the former the laid-back younger brother to Moffat's bossy older sister role. Together, they wade through sibling issues and school antics. The first book, Morgan and Moffat Go to School, is followed by A New Barker in the House (about getting a new adopted brother) and Trouble in the Barker's Class, which focuses on bullying. Other books in the series include Boss for a Day and Hide and Seek All Week.

Board books

DePaola didn't forget the littlest readers with his series of board books. Board books are made of heavyweight cardboard pages that are easy for babies and toddlers to grasp.

I Love You Sun, I Love You Moon teaches youngsters how to appreciate the things around them in nature, while Tomie's Little Book of Love recounts loving a pet and a wedding. DePaola has also taken a stab at popular nursery rhymes in this format, including Mary Had a Little Lamb and Tomie's Little Mother Goose.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account