In a town in Calabria, a long time ago...

Strega Nona Author Tomie dePaola Is Being Honored With A Special New Stamp

Of course she has her magical pot with her!

Stamps are one of those items that need a little glow up since the dawn of the internet, when so many of us have stopped mailing stuff. We don’t really need to buy stamps too often anymore, unless of course they have a special emotional quotient to them. Like a stamp from the U.S. Postal Service dedicated to Strega Nona author Tomie dePaola, for instance. We’ll take anything that pays homage to the greatest magical pasta maker of all time and the man who introduced her to the world.

Children’s author and illustrator Tomie dePaola died at the age of 85 years old in 2020 after a truly incredible career. In his lifetime, he wrote 260 children’s books. His best known book, of course, is the 1975 bestseller Strega Nona, the story of a wise, witchy grandmother in a small village of Calabria who uses her magical pasta pot to help her fellow villagers with their ailments. The book has sold more than 250 million copies and was named one of the “Top 100 Picture Books” by the School Library Journal. Pretty impressive considering dePaola initially came up with Strega Nona (Italian for “Grandma Witch”) after doing a doodle of an old woman’s head in the early ‘70s. Now Strega Nona and dePaola are getting their very own commemorative stamp.

Derry Noyes, art director for the U.S. Postal Service, designed the Strega Nona stamp with dePaola's original art.USPS

The U.S. Postal Service announced on Wednesday that a “Forever” stamp created in honor of dePaola will be issued on May 5, and will feature Strega Nona herself, carrying her magic pasta pot in front of her little cottage. Former First Lady of New Hampshire Dr. Susan Lynch, will attend a dedication ceremony for the stamp, which feels fitting after dePaola’s many years as a New Hampshire resident.

Fans of dePaola are more than ready to start mailing more of their correspondence simply to use the new stamp. “Get ready for every piece of mail I send to have this stamp on it!” wrote one Twitter user, while another added, “The USPS is putting out a Strega Nona stamp in 2023. I am going to have to buy some. I rarely even send mail but...”

This new stamp represents more than just a fondness for dePaola in many ways. It also is a sign of support for a book that has been banned in many libraries across the country for its portrayal of witchcraft. Banned and challenged despite Strega Nona’s incredibly positive messages of kindness and empathy and service to her community.

Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona stamps will be released and available for purchase on May 5.