Children’s book author and illustrator Tomie dePaola has been commemorated by the US Postal Service with the release of a Forever stamp. A dedication ceremony for the stamp was held on May 5 at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, which also houses over 100 pieces of dePaola’s art in its permanent collection. The stamp art features a detail from the cover of “Strega Nona,” the first book in dePaola’s popular picture book series.
DePaola, who passed away in 2020 after complications from surgery, was known for producing an extensive body of work that included folktales and legends, informational books, religious and holiday stories, and autobiographical tales. His books contained layers of emotional meaning and emphasized the importance of hard work, self-acceptance, love, and kindness.
At the dedication ceremony, Steve Monteith, the chief customer and marketing officer of the US Postal Service, praised dePaola’s genius and unique ability to communicate with readers of all ages and cultures. Other participants at the event included Bruce McColl, director of engagement at the Currier Museum of Art; Dr. Susan Lynch, former first lady of New Hampshire and Currier Museum of Art board member; Judie dePaola Bobbi, sister of Tomie dePaola; Erin Fehlau, WMUR-TV anchor; Jon Anderson, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing; Sarah Mackenzie, founder of Read-Aloud Revival; and Kathleen McCaffery, English language arts consultant at the New Hampshire Department of Education.
Bright but muted tones, flat, two-dimensional perspectives, and a distinctive mix of Romanesque painting styles and traditional folk art characterized DePaola’s work. Hearts and white birds, which were important to dePaola, recurred throughout his illustrations. His most famous work, the “Strega Nona” picture book series, received a Caldecott Honor and focused on the character Strega Nona, or “Grandma Witch,” who uses magic to help her neighbors and cure their ailments.
In 2011, the American Library Association awarded dePaola the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for his significant contribution to children’s literature. Following his death, the Currier Museum established the Tomie dePaola Art Education Fund to support art instruction for young people from all backgrounds.
The stamp release is being celebrated on social media with the hashtag #TomiedePaolaStamp. Through this honor, dePaola’s legacy and contributions to children’s literature will continue to inspire and captivate readers of all ages.