Goodbye, and thanks for all the books

Maurice Sendak passed away yesterday (May 8, 2012) at age 83. There is nothing I can say that thousands of people haven’t already said about him and his work. All I can say is this: his work was an integral part of my childhood. His books were read to me from infancy; I dreamed of his vivid and inspiring illustrations. I pretended on a fairly regular basis to be Max, and sailing off to see the Wild Things. I still own my well-loved copies of Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen.

As I grew older, I came to realize that his books were not for children: they are for everybody. As an adult, I still look to Sendak’s books to remind me of the love, creativity, passion, and imagination that make life vibrant and exciting. I am a lifelong fan of Maurice Sendak — even more so after learning more about him as a person and an author. He was funny, creative, biting, unapologetic and wonderfully confident. Sendak knew what was important to him; he also knew what was important for children to know and feel.  It was this in particular that moved him to write the books he did, and for that I will always be grateful.

Mr. Sendak, your vision will be missed, but your books will be treasured forever.

(For a full obituary, you should read the NY Times story on Maurice Sendak. It’s well written and you can see the full text here.)


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