Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Tomie dePaola!

A lovely couple in Western Massachusetts with an unpronounceable name (no, that's wrong--it's easy to pronounce; just impossible to spell) has helped organize a birthday tribute to the fabulous Tomie dePaola, who has turned a quite respectable seventy-five years of age!!

The tribute web site, Three Kisses for Tomie (if you don't catch the reference, go read Strega Nona and come back), collects Tomie tribute art from a few all-stars of children's book art, plus me.

I first met Tomie in Dallas, Tex. I was there for a library conference, just a brief few days after my father's funeral. Needless to see, not the Best Time Ever. But I ran into Jarrett Krosoczka, who, having heard what happened, went out of his way to make me laugh and feel better, at least for the evening. And he brought me back to the hotel bar to sit and hang with Tomie de Paola, who carried on in his usual marvelous way, laughing and joking with his knowing, squinting little gnome-face. He told me scandalous rumors about other children's authors, and I forgot all about my troubles and, for the first time, felt like an insider, like I was actually a part of the children's book author/illustrator community.

It was pretty awesome. So I'll always be grateful to Jarrett, and to Tomie.

Go see the artwork!

Here's my contribution:

I also love "Arrangement in Grey and Black" (AKA "Whistler's Strega Nona") by Erin Eitter Kono:

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