Today Maurice Sendak -- author and illustrator of many beloved childrens' books -- passed away at the age of 83. I will be honest and say that I didn't know he was still alive. I figured that an author that had written a book that my mother read as a child and passed on to me which I, in turn, passed on to my sons would surely not still be with us. I had built him up to be something bigger than life and, as such, other-worldly. I am left feeling sad that I didn't have my sons send some fan mail as they fell in love with the book over the past six years.
On the other hand, they say that many creative types -- authors and poets and artists -- don't ever see true appreciation for their life's work. I hope Maurice knew how much children and adults alike loved his work.
I mean, when it is painted as a mural...
Photo Credit: woodsfehr.
Photo Credit: woodsfehr.
...and as graffiti...
Photo Credit: binaryape.
...and celebrated at parties on top of cookies...
Photo Credit: apuch.
...and turned into stuffed animals...
Photo Credit: southhollisqueen.
...and tattooed on adults...
Photo Credit: p22earl.
...maybe then you are able to realize that you did something, that you created something, that you wrote, drew and breathed life into something that the rest of the world didn't just understand... but loved.
Of course, Maurice Sendak is responsible for much more than Where the Wild Things Are. I think having a book, In the Night Kitchen, on the Frequently Challenged Books of the 21st Century list is a something to be proud of -- because the best stuff always tends to make people feel a bit uncomfortable. Did you know that Sendak also illustrated the series Little Bear which today's generation of youngsters has come to know in a moving form on TV? His list of work and accomplishments is long.
In addition to visual art, Sendak inspired many a blog post over the years. On BlogHer:
- This Is Where the Wild Things Are
- Parenthood: A Wild Rumpus
- Shrek + Monsters and Miracles: A Journey through Jewish Picture Books
- Farewell Maurice Sendak, Love, a Little Girl Who Dreams
- Where the Wild Things Are Party -- Part 1
- Who Do I Thank for Where the Wild Things Are
- How Does a Daddy Read to Three Girls?
Maurice Sendak has done what few children's authors ever do: He has touched multiple generations with his words and his art. Generations yet to come will delight in his books, his imagination. We celebrate his life today and ask you to do the same in the comments. Feel free to share a memory, a post or a photo about how Maurice Sendak touched your family.
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