Tomie dePaola, the 2000 PSC Granite State Award recipient, was on campus last week to receive the award that was announced at graduation last May. The presentation was made before the opening curtain of the Friday night Educational Theatre Collaborative (ETC) performance of The Sound of Music. DePaola has a special link to ETC since the collaborative has produced (and won awards for) adaptations of two of his Strega Nona stories.
Granite State Awards are conferred by the Board of Trustees on recommendation from the campus, to recognize “citizens whose achievements in their own particular spheres have been outstanding for contributions they have made to New Hampshire.” One such award may be made per campus each year.
From his home in New London, Tomie dePaola has illustrated over 200 children’s books, writing stories for almost half of them. His work has earned him every major award in children’s literature.
dePaola is best known for Strega Nona (Italian for “grandma witch”), a series of stories about a warm and loving woman who has magical powers. While Strega Nona is not autobiographical, many of his stories, such as Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs, are based on his childhood. Others, including The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush and Days of the Blackbird, retell fables and folklore.
The citation accompanying Tomie dePaola’s Granite State Award concludes:
Here at Plymouth we hold a special place in our hearts for your work.
Not once, but twice our community and the Educational Theater
Collaborative experienced the magic of Strega Nona right on this very stage.
Tomie dePaola, for your extraordinary contributions to New Hampshire culture, for making our children laugh and take comfort in your characters, and for your ongoing dedication to arts and literature, we salute you.