Tomie dePaola

With this stamp, the U.S. Postal Service honors prolific children’s book author and illustrator Tomie dePaola (1934–2020), whose extraordinarily varied body of work encompasses folktales and legends, informational books, religious and holiday stories, and touching autobiographical tales. Deceptively simple, dePaola’s stories contain layers of emotional meaning that appeal to readers of all ages.

The stamp art features a detail from the cover of Strega Nona. The first in a series, the book was published in 1975 and received a Caldecott Honor as one of the most distinguished picture books published that year. Set in southern Italy, the gently humorous story focuses on Strega Nona, “Grandma Witch,” who uses magic to help with matters of the heart and to cure her neighbors’ ills. The cover shows Strega Nona carrying her magic pasta pot. The small pink heart in the bottom right corner symbolizes the key ingredient to all of her magic: love.

The Strega Nona stories read like well-worn folktales, as do plenty of dePaola’s other works. Other books emphasize family relationships and draw on personal experience. “I’ve discovered,” he often reflected, “that children most respond to books based on my own life.” In 1999, dePaola published 26 Fairmount Avenue, the Newbery Honor–winning first book in a series of eight autobiographies that offer a detailed snapshot of his life and family, from the late 1930s through the turmoil of World War II.

Whatever the subject, dePaola’s illustrations are instantly recognizable. Characterized by bright but muted tones and flat, two-dimensional perspective, they offer a distinctive mix of Romanesque painting styles and traditional folk art. Simple shapes and bold, clean lines belie complex compositions. Objects that meant the most to dePaola—notably hearts and white birds—recur throughout his work.

DePaola tried to convey three fundamental truths in all his books: Success depends on hard work, happiness relies on embracing one’s true self, and love and kindness underscore all. In 1990, he was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international recognition given to children’s book authors and illustrators. In 2011, the American Library Association awarded him the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award (now the Children’s Literature Legacy Award) for his “substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.”

Derry Noyes served as art director and designer for this stamp.

The Tomie dePaola stamp is being issued as a Forever® stamp. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce price.

Product Specification:
Issue:Tomie dePaola Stamp
Item Number:483600
Denomination &First-Class Mail Forever
Type of Issue:
Format:Pane of 20 (1 design)
Issue Date & City:May 5, 2023, Manchester, NH, 03103
Art Director:Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Designer:Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Existing Art:Tomie dePaola
Modeler:Ty Schroeder
Manufacturing Process:Offset, Microprint
Printer:Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd (APU)
Press Type:Muller A76
Stamps per Pane:20
Print Quantity:22,000,000 stamps
Paper Type:Nonphosphored Type III, Block Tagged
Adhesive Type:Pressure-sensitive
Colors:Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Pantone 7584C, Pantone 624C
Stamp Orientation:Horizontal
Image Area (w x h):1.42 x 1.085 in / 36.068 x 27.559 mm
Overall Size (w x h):1.56 x 1.225 in / 39.624 x 31.115 mm
Full Pane Size (w x h):7.24 x 7.90 in / 183.896 x 200.66 mm
Press Sheets Size (w x h):22.75 x 27 in / 577.85 x 685.80 mm
Plate Size:180 stamps per revolution
Plate Number:“P” followed by six (6) single digits in two corners
Marginal Markings:
Front:Header: Tomie • Plate number in bottom 2 corners
Back:©2022 USPS • USPS logo • Two barcodes (483600) • Plate position diagram (9) • Promotional text
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