I’m in love! (Sorry B…I know we’ve been married for almost 40 years, but I can’t help it, I’ve fallen in love with Tomie dePaola). Never met him, but just look at the photo above and you can see that Mr. dePaola is a happy person, and he certainly brings a lot of happiness to the world of young people of all ages! I’m completely captured with his work again and in a whole new way.
He has long been a family favorite author/illustrator — we loved his Strega Nona, and his Pancakes For Breakfast. And I use many of his books in my classroom. So I was thrilled recently to discover his autobiographical series, 26 Fairmount Avenue.
A Note From the Author in the first book:
Over the years, letters from my young readers have increasingly asked, “When are you going to write a chapter book?” But the idea seemed daunting.
Then one day, my long-time assistant, Bob Hechtel, said, “I have an idea for a chapter book for you — in fact, for a series of chapter books. Why don’t you write about all the things that you talk about from your childhood, but can’t put into a single picture book.” DING — the bell went off – the light bulb lit. “That’s it!
The series begins in 1938, when Mr. dePaola was four years old, and continues on into the War years. So far there are 7 books, full of life and wonderful stories about his family (to whom you become very attached) and his experiences as he grows and changes. And it’s fascinating to see the emerging artist, for he certainly was an artist at that very young age.
I can’t wait until the next one comes out. I also can’t wait to introduce my students to these books and see what they think. I hope they enjoy them as much as I did. And even if you don’t normally read many children’s books, this series is worth reading. It’s delightful to experience that period of time through the eyes of a gifted young person.
Mr. dePaola won the Newbery Honor Award for the first book, and he won my heart with this series.
• Some very nice video clips of Tomie telling stories about his life and art