About the Author
It drove him through the years of teaching, designing greeting cards and stage sets, and painting church murals until 1965, when he illustrated his first children's book, Sound, by Lisa Miller for Coward-McCann. Eventually, freed of other obligations, he plunged full time into both writing and illustrating children's books.
He names Fra Angelico and Giotto, Georges Rouault, and Ben Shahn as major influences on his work, but he soon found his own unique style. His particular way with color, line, detail, and design have earned him many of the most prestigious awards in his field, among them a Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona, the Smithsonian Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for his "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal for his "continued distinguished contribution," and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion. He was also the 1990 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration.
Tomie dePaola has published almost 200 children's books in fifteen different countries. He remains one of the most popular creators of books for children, receiving more than 100,000 fan letters each year.
Tomie lives in an interesting house in New Hampshire with his four dogs. His studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.
- He has been published for over 30 years.
- Over 5 million copies of his books have sold worldwide.
- His books have been published in over 15 different countries.
- He receives nearly 100,000 fan letters each year.
Tomie dePaola has received virtually every significant recognition forhis books in the children's book world, including:
- Caldecott Honor Award from American Library Association
- Newbery Honor Award from American Library Association
- Smithson Medal from Smithsonian Institution
- USA nominee in illustration for Hans Christian Andersen Medal
- Regina Medal from Catholic Library Association
copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.
Hometown:Connecticut and New Hampshire
Date of Birth:September 15, 1935
Place of Birth:Meriden, CT
Read an Excerpt
Introduction:Las Posadas, an old Spanish custom which celebrates Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, stems from the word posada, meaning "inn." It began in Spain and came to the New Wold, first to Mexico and then to the American Southwest. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I have imagined my story, luminarios or faralitos, as they are called in New Mexico, line the edges of the plaza in the historical district of the city. These candles placed in paper bags light the way for Mary and Joseph, the procession of candle bearers and others singing in traditional Spanish songs.Along the way, the couple representing Mary and Joseph knock on doors, five in all. Each time a "devil" appears and tries to keep them out of the "inn." Everyone gathered in the Plaza books the "devil," and the procession moves around the plaza until they reach the Palace of Governors. There the gates are thrown open to a courtyard where everyone gathers and celebrates to coming of the baby Jesus.A Note From the Author:In Spain , as in Mexico, Las Posadas is celebrated for nine days. Families walk in processions, knocking at doors, but only on Christmas Eve does a door open, everyone enters and has hot chocolate and cookies to commemorate the expected birth of the Holy Child. In San Antonio, Texas, a procession of boats, with the couple representing Mary and Joseph sitting in the first boat followed by boats filled with people singing, winds down the river that runs through the center of the city.In Santa Fe, the procession is usually made up of people from Santa Cruz, a small village north of the city. It is a great honor to be chosen to play Mary and Joseph. When they knock on the doors, a song is sung each time asking for Mary and Joseph to be let in. But the "devil" appears with an answering song to keep them out. It is very dramatic and even amusing as the crowd filling the square boo and hiss at the "devil."Finally when everyone has gathered in the courtyard, as in Spain and Mexico, hot chocolate and cookies are served.
Excerpted from "The Night of Las Posadas"
Copyright © 2001 Tomie dePaola.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sister Angie has been in charge of Las Posadas for years (a religious tradition where the congregation musically reenacts Mary and Joseph hunting for an inn on Christmas Eve). This year, she is honored to have her niece and nephew taking the roles of Mary and Joseph. However, plans go awry when Sister Angie gets sick and her relatives are stuck in the mountains because of a snow storm. Just when it looks like Las Posadas is ruined, a mysterious couple arrive in town to fill in for Lupe and Roberto, and the Christmas tradition can be upheld once again.This is a beautiful story, illustrated with de Paola's unique and incomparable form. The pictures are acrylic on watercolor, done in the naive style. The colors are warm and vibrant and transmit the holiday feel and the love expressed in the story. In his words and art, the author conveys a modern miracle, told with the right amount of mystery and restraint, and brings to his story all the warmth of the holidays in his luminous pictures.
This book is about the celebration of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter on Christmas Eve. This is a celebration that takes place in Spain, Mexico and some Southwestern American States. This story is based around Sister Angie's play of the event and the miracle that takes place on this night. I think this would be a good book to read in Catholic Schools to give the students a cultural aspect to this event.