Like Strega Nona, Tomie dePaola's stories endure

By By KATHY McCORMACK

NEW LONDON, N.H. (AP) — The most famous creation of New Hampshire children's author and illustrator Tomie dePaola (TAH'-mee deh-POW'-lah) began as a doodle at a dull faculty meeting.

Since 1975, children have been delighted by Strega Nona, a kindly old witch in Italy who helps villagers with potions and advice. In the newest and 12th book, "Strega Nona Does it Again," she deals with a high-maintenance houseguest.

Like Strega Nona, the 79-year-old dePaola has endured through the years. He's worked on nearly 250 books. More than 15 million copies have sold worldwide and have been translated into about 25 languages.

This year, dePaola has a collection of work from his childhood through youth on exhibit at Colby-Sawyer College, called "Then." Next year, visitors will see "Now."

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