A stamp of approval for Tomie dePaola

A newly issued Forever Stamp brings pride to the city in ways that far exceeds its small dimensions and takes the legacy of a native son to an even wider audience.

“The stamp features the cover art of ‘Strega Nona,’ written and illustrated by the late children’s author and Meriden native Tomie dePaola, who died in 2020,” writes Record Journal reporter Michael Gagne. He covered a ceremony honoring dePaola that took place last week during a City Council meeting.

Judith Bobbi, dePaola’s younger sister, spoke at the event. “Tomie always gave Meriden credit, no matter where he went, that this is where he came from. And this was his root. He went on to bigger and better things, but he always came back to Meriden ... he appreciated everything that Meriden gave him.”

Accolades for DePaola included comments from Mayor Kevin Scarpati as well as the U.S. Postal Service.

“I know Tomie has left a mark, not only in the city of Meriden, but throughout the entire world,” Scarpati said.

A USPS press release described dePaola as an author “whose extraordinarily varied body of work encompasses folktales and legends, informational books, religious and holiday stories, and touching autobiographical tales.”

Leaders of the Meriden Library Board of Trustees, Kiwanis Club of Meriden, the Meriden Hall of Fame and Meriden Historical Society also offered remarks regarding the evening’s honoree, noting the gracious and caring connections he maintained with the city.

There’s another chapter to add to the latest recognition coming dePaola’s way. His famous tale is featured at a newly installed “Storywalk” along the Meriden Green’s Silver City Bridge with the story’s text printed in both English and Spanish.

“Families all across the city, whether they never read ‘Strega Nona’ or read it a hundred times, can spend time in our parks and read the story together,” said Brian Cofrancesco, president of the Kiwanis Club, which sponsored the Storywalk.

What a refreshing and powerful boost for the city’s image. Not only the latest recognition given to one of its own, but that dePaola so fully embraced where he came from and kept his home town close to his heart. Likewise it’s good to see the city reciprocating and making sure dePaula’s story becomes part of Meriden’s unique offerings.


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