photo: bookbankcanada via Instagram
Children’s literature lost an award-winning author and illustrator on Monday, when Tomie dePaola died at the age of 85. His assistant, Bob Hetchtel, shared the news via Facebook, sharing the beautiful words, “Our collective hearts are broken.” DePaola passed as a result of complications from a surgery prompted by a fall he had the previous week.
The beloved author was a multi-award winning recipient. He achieved the Caldecott Honor Award in 1976, a Newberry Honor in 2000 and the coveted Children’s Legacy Literature Award in 2011. Of his vast catalogue of books (more than 270!), he’s known for several favorites, including Strega Nona, 26 Fairmount Avenue and The Legend of Bluebonnet. Nearly 25 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide, with many of his early tales having already been refreshed and republished in recent years.
DePaola also taught theater and art throughout his career at various colleges. His legacy may encompass a great many achievements, but perhaps none more so than his idea that “Reading is important, because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything.”