Tomie dePaola receives Society of Illustrators’ Lifetime Achievement Award

CongrOliver Button is a Sissy (pg. 5)atulations, Tomie!  According to the Society’s home page, “The Lifetime Achievement Awards were established in 2005 by past chairs of The Original Art. Nominees must be judged to have a body of work that documents an innovative and pioneering contribution to the field of children’s book illustration, and final selection is made by artists whose work has been juried into the previous year’s show. ”


From an early age, Tomie and his parents knew he would be an artist. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York where he studied Art. His Master of Fine Arts degree was received from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California. He has also been awarded three honorary Doctorate degrees from separate Universities and Colleges.

Tomie’s Tomie dePaolacareer as a professional artist and designer, former teacher of art, children’s author and illustrator is expansive. He has designed greeting cards, posters, magazine and catalogue covers, record album covers, and theater costumes and sets. He has illustrated over two hundred books, and written over seventy. Tomie has won numerous awards, including the prestigious American Library Association’s Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona (1976), the University of Minnesota’s Kerlan Award (1981), the Catholic Library Association’s Regina Medal (1983), and the Smithsonian Institution’s Smithson Medal (1990).


Tomie’s books have been published world-wide in fifteen different languages and he has over five million copies in print. Many of his books are largely autobiographical such as Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs, Tom, and The Art Lesson. Tomie currently resides in New Hampshire.

The Tomie dePaola Collection contains artwork, sketch books and paintings from the beginning of his career, as well as many different editions from each book he wrote or illustrated, including foreign editions. Some of the languages represented are Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, French Canadian, German, Afrikaans, and even Zulu. Original Little Tomieillustrations from books, as well as paintings and other art work spanning from his childhood years are included. The Collection also contains marketing items from his books, such as towels, porcelain jewelry containers, music boxes, paper goods (wrapping paper, cups & plates), quilts from schools, and a large selection of Christmas tree ornaments designed by Tomie for the Marshall Fields Christmas trees in Chicago.


Well done, Tomie!

–Terri J. Goldich, Curator, Northeast Children’s Literature Collection



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *