We Love You So
Last month, children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak passed away at age 83. He will be remembered for his stylized illustrations and unique perspective, epitomized by his 1963 book Where the Wild Things Are.
Even though I was born sixteen years after its publication, I consider myself a part of the Wild Things generation. The truth is that the label has spanned almost every generation since the early 60s, so integral a part of American childhood has Sendak’s work become. To me it represented everything about my own muted capacity for rebellion as a child, a common bond between myself and my pre-k comrades in arms. We were all Max in our own minds, striving to subvert the (really quite reasonable) policies of our authoritarian parents.
Finishing your peas and carrots? Bedtime? Who needed ‘em? I always secretly wished I could don my own animal costume and sail away with my hero. Something about Sendak’s words and images have real sticking power, which was never more clear than when director Spike Jonze embarked on the production of a movie based on the book. Reactions were passionate, bordering on vitriolic, and stories about 30-year-olds storming out of theaters in tears abounded when it was released.
For so many of us, books are our first encounter with art, through the images on the pages. Maurice Sendak produced the best-of-the-best, iconic stuff that will endure and inspire for generations of wild things to come. Rest in peace, Mr. Sendak.
- RIP, Maurice Sendak (boingboing.net)
- Maurice Sendak (nytimes.com)
- The Importance of Art in a Child’s Development (barnesandnoble.com)
- Bookmaking with Second Graders (carlemuseum.org)