Thomas Anthony “Tomie” dePaola was born on September 15, 1934, in Meriden, Connecticut. His mother read to Tomie from the time he was in diapers; cementing his love for books. When he was only four years old, he was certain that he would grow up to be an author and illustrator. Following his graduation from high school, he enrolled at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, where he graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
After graduating from college, Tomie entered a Benedictine Monastery in Vermont for six months. He designed fabrics, Christmas cards, and liturgical art. In 1962, he began his teaching career at Newton College of the Sacred Heart in Massachusetts. Still holding on to his dream of becoming an author and illustrator, Tomie was asked to illustrate the book Sound in 1965. A year later, he published his own book, The Wonderful Dragon of Timlin.
By the 1970s, Tomie began to write and illustrate books more regularly. His own family, childhood and folk tales have inspired many of his books. So far in his career, Tomie has illustrated more than 250 books and has written over 100 of them. His stories have been translated into 20 different languages and have sold more than 15 million copies. His books – from the Strega Nona series to Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs to his many other short stories – continue to entertain and inspire children all over the world.