R.I.P Maurice Sendak: June 10th 1928 – May 8th 2012.
A good author is bound to be cherished, for they are the ones with the power to open up doors in our imaginations and bring us places we never knew existed. A great author, on the other hand, is bound to be equally cherished and shunned, for they are the ones with the power to bring us places we knew existed, but chose to ignore.
Maurice Sendak, best known for his children’s book “Where The Wild Things Are” was a great author. He was loved and hated for pulling childhood literature out of its wee safe nursery and dropping it into the dark, complex, and wonderful recesses of the human mind-and nothing made him happier than that. He believed that there was no such things as a carefree childhood-indeed he understood it is one of the trickiest times in life to navigate. For this, he has been one of the most influential children’s book authors of all time.
A (very) Brief Summary Of Sendak’s Life
Maurice Sendak was born in 1928 in Brooklyn, New York. As a little boy he developed health problems, and as a result was confined to bed. It was then that his love of books began to develop. He decided to become an illustrator at the age of 12 after seeing Walt Disney’s Fantasia.
He went on to write and illustrate dozens upon dozens of books, and his most well-known ones, such as ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ and ‘In The Night Kitchen’ frequently made numerous lists of children’s books that were most often censored and banned. In his case, I consider that to be a compliment, because his books made us think, even made us a little uncomfortable at times, but regardless he was honest.
He was given many honors and awards throughout his career including, but not limited to, a Caldecott Medal for ‘Where The Wild Things Are’, a Hans Christen Anderson Award for children’s books illustrations, a National Medal of Arts, and a Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal.
He was honored in Northern California where an elementary school was named after him.
Sendak has had such an enormous role in the lives of so many people, not only children, but adults as well. The world lost a great mind when he passed away, but surely he is off causing a wild rumpus elsewhere. We’d like to thank him for memories he’s created for everyone who grew up reading his books, for his rare insight into the human mind, and most of all, for bringing out the wild thing in all of us.
Below is a quote that, out of the hundreds he has, we felt really captured who he was.
“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”