In addition to creating his own stories, Tomie dePaola is also well known for his retellings of folktales such as STREGA NONA: AN OLD TALE and FIN M'COUL: THE GIANT OF KNOCKMANY HILL, as well as his illustrations for the work of other authors such as Jean Fritz and Tony Johnston. dePaola has a B.F.A from Pratt Institute, a M.F.A. for the California College of Arts and Crafts, and a doctoral equivalency from Lone Mountain College. He entered a Benedictine monastery in Vermont for a short time after his graduation from college; many of his books reflect his interest in religion and spirituality. DePaola's works are noted for their conscious effort to avoid sexual stereotyping. In 2001 DePaola became the executive producer and star of the television program JIM HENSON'S TELLING STORIES WITH TOMIE DEPAOLA, a program intended to encourage children to use their imaginations and develop their own storytelling skills.