My mother took my sister and I to a children's book store that no longer exists to meet Tomie DePaola way back when. He talked at a pace that seemed fast and vibrant even to my kid sensibility. He sat next to an easel with a giant pad of paper and drew as he talked. It was amazing. He created stories before our eyes.
He seemed old in the way that adults do to kids, such that when I was an adult perusing things like the National Book I had that moment of oh cool, he's still alive. (DePaola is actually only a smidgeon older than my parents, so yeah, kids are not good judges of ages.)
He lived long enough to win multiple awards, have one named after him, and to publish over two hundred books. This video from his appearance at the book festival in 2011, is just a hint of what a wonder he was. This NPR piece on him is lovely also.