Like almost everyone who grew up in an era where his books were available, I love Maurice Sendak’s work.
Famous for Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak had a prolific career
and most recently published Bumble-ardy in 2011. Sendak died on Tuesday
May 8th at the age of 83.
Sendak was openly gay, but only in his later years. The New York Times
wrote in their obituary of Sendak, “As Mr. Sendak grew up — lower
class, Jewish, gay — he felt permanently shunted to the margins of
things. “All I wanted was to be straight so my parents could be happy,”
he told The New York Times in a 2008 interview. “They never, never,
Like so many artists and writers, the unhappiness of his childhood
shaped his outlook and his art. Sendak pushed the boundaries of what was
considered appropriate for children, never shying away from melancholy
or intense topics. In Sendak’s books, dogs ran away from home, bad kids
didn’t get supper, giant chefs might try to mix you into batter, and
pigs were denied birthday celebrations.
Sendak was known for being blunt, curmudgeonly, and unsentimental but
he clearly respected the intellect of his young audiences and credited
them with the ability to understand children’s books that had
In a interview with Terry Gross
on NPR, Sendak talked about the fragility and irrationality of life. He
grieved the recent death of two of his close friends but maintained,
despite the difficulty of loss, ”I am in love with the world.”