Contact Information and Autographs
Art and Illustration
Children's Publishing

How do you pronounce your name?


My surname translates from Italian to “of Terlizzi”, the town my ancestors immigrated from on my father’s side. Terlizzi is in the Bari province of southern Italy. Though I have visited several grand cities in Italy (including Milan, Venice, Florence and Lucca), I have not made it to Terlizzi…yet.
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Where were you born?

I was born in Los Angeles, California on September 6th, 1969. My parents and I did not stay in California long and I spent the majority of my youth growing up in Jupiter, Florida. I am the oldest of three siblings (a sister and a brother), and all of us are artistically inclined thanks to a creative mom and supportive dad.Back to Questions

What school(s) did you attend?

I attended public schools in Florida including Hobe Sound Elementary, Murray Middle School and South Fork High School. I enrolled in several colleges, including a brief stint at Florida School of the Arts, and received my degree in graphic design at The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale in 1992.Back to Questions

Where can I purchase your books?

TD: Most all of the books that I worked on are still in print and available at fine bookstores everywhere. Of course, there are many online stores where you can get them as well.Back to Questions

What are you favorite books that you read growing up? How about your favorite movie? Food? Color? Musician?

Here’s some favorite stuff that I loved growing up with:

Favorite color: 

Favorite food: 
As a kid it was peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches

Favorite ice cream flavor:
 Mint chocolate-chip

Favorite picture book:
 Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Leo & Dianne Dillon

Favorite chapter book:
 Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

Favorite book read to me: 
The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

Favorite fiction: 
Watership Down by Richard Adams

Favorite band: The Beatles

Favorite album:
 Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Favorite movie:
 The original Star Wars trilogy

Favorite television show:
The Muppet Show
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Do you have any hobbies you like to do besides drawing?

I am a big reader and I collect a lot of early editions of children’s books and classic literature. I enjoy seeing how these stories are adapted into film, so I love to watch films. My friends will tell you I am a nut for old rock and pop music, especially from the 1970’s and 80’s. I also collect old toys, games and knickknacks from my childhood.

I am a kid who grew up outdoors and I love being in nature. I like to bike, hike and take lots of photographs, especially macro-photographs of insects.
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What’s the first book you ever made? What was the first book you ever published?

I have been making handmade books since I was a kid. In Boy Scouts I made a book on dinosaurs, which my mom helped me with. And I made a pocket field guide to insects I had collected. I also made a comic book about my pet hamster Max.

When I was 12, I created a book called “Gondwanaland” about a mysterious island full of weird and mysterious creatures. (I reminisced about it in Jon Scieszka’s Guys Write for Guys Read in 2005).

My artwork was first published in Dragon Mountain, a role-playing adventure for Dungeons & Dragons, which was released in 1993.

The first book that I wrote and illustrated was Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure, which was published in 2000 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.Back to Questions

Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.