Favorite Children's Book Author Tomie de'Paola Unit Study

Tomie dePaola is one of my all time favorite children’s authors. He writes and illustrates his books, which include fun stories, retellings of old legends and stories, and stories about his life as a child. The stories are at times touching and at times funny. But we’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all.

In this post I’m sharing all of Tomie dePaola’s books as well as other resources you can use to create an author unit study featuring this awesome children’s author and his writing. Make sure you pick up my free Create Your Own Unit Study book. It will walk you through creating your own study and give you printable planning pages to use as you do it.

Tomie dePaola Unit Study
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About the Author

Reading Rockets has a short biography, as well as two video interviews with Tomie dePaola.

On Tomie dePaola’s official site, you can find information about his books, videos, and some of his art work.

Scholastic has a brief biography and some facts about Tomie dePaola.

This is a brief video from Open Roads Media of Tomie talking about his stories.

The Book Bug has a cute, free printable author poster about Tomie. (Scroll down on the page to get it.)

Tomie dePaola Booklist

Tomie dePaola has written and illustrated over 140 books. I’m not listing them all here, but I’m including ten of our favorites for you to start with. You can find a complete list here.

Strega Nona– Strega Nona- Grandma Witch- is the source of potions, magic, and spells. She also has a magic pasta pot. When she’s going away she warns Big Anthony not to use her magic pot, but he
can’t resist and trouble comes.

The Legend of the Poinsettia- This story is Tomie’s retelling of a Mexican Christmas tale.

The Art Lesson– This story is based on Tomie’s own life. Little Tommy looks forward excitedly to his first art class at school. But he realizes quickly that he isn’t going to be allowed any creativity.

The Legend of the Bluebonnet- This is a retelling of a Comanche Indian legend about how the bluebonnet, the state flower of Texas came to be.

The Legend of Old Befana– This is a retelling of an Italian Christmas story featuring Befana and her search for the Christ child.

Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs- This story- also based on Tomie’s childhood- is about Tommy and his grandmother and great grandmother. It’s a sweet family story and also deals with loss of a loved one.

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland– Tomie tells the Saint Patrick, his life and history.

26 Fairmount Avenue- This is another story based on Tomie’s childhood. A hurricane hits right when Tommy’s family begins to build their new house.

The Clown of God- This is the retelling of a French legend, featuring a juggler who brings all he has to the Christ Child.

The Night of Las Posadas- It’s the night of Las Posadas in in Santa Fe. It’s the tradition where Mary and Joseph go door to door seeking shelter. The only problem is that Sister Agnes- who is coordinating the parade- along with the people who are supposed to play Mary and Joseph are unable to be there.

Tomie dePaola Unit Study

Unit Study Activities

I’ve got a unit study with activities to go along with The Art Lesson here.

And I have activities to go along with The Legend of the Poinsettia here.

This is a great Jim Henson video with Strega Nona telling Tomie a “scary” story. (There are more of these videos with different stories too.)

Make a book for Strega Nona in one of these four ways.

This is an awesome collection of Strega Nona printables on Teachers Pay Teachers. (It’s not free, however.)

The students in this class did a Character Paper Bag project with Big Anthony (one of the characters from the Strega Nona books), but this would be a fun activity for any of the characters from Tomie’s books.

The Happy Housewife has some fun activities to use with Pancakes for Breakfast.

This free Character Relationships Map goes nicely with 26 Fairmount Avenue.

Around the Kampfire has some great Strega Nona ideas as well as a freebie to help kids break down the setting of Strega Nona’s kitchen from whole to parts.

Peterson’s Pad has some fun, free printables to use with The Popcorn Book.

Rainy Day Mum has an art activity to go along with The Knight and the Dragon.

Find some fun and simple activities to use with Strega Nona at Ever Never Again.

The Smart Teacher has a painting activity to use along with The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush.

Susan Jones Teaching has some great free printables to go along with The Legend of the Poinsettia.

Mommy Maestra has activities to go alone with The Night of Las Posadas.

I hope that you and your kiddos enjoy Tomie dePaola as much as we do! Don’t forget to get your free unit study planner here.

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