Maurice Sendak, illustrator and author of many wonderful children’s books passed away yesterday. This is a loss I feel deeply, for Sendak’s work was not only a part of my childhood, but also a part of my children’s childhood. As a child I was fascinated with the boy who stole away in a ship of his own making, whose room had been covered in vines and trees. As a mother, I loved showing my claws and gnashing my teeth with my children.
While Sendak was clearly a marvelous illustrator, what I treasure most about his work, was his irreverence for social norms and his willingness to embrace the freedom of a child’s imagination. His characters all seem a bit tousled, like they had just had so much fun on the playground or just climbed out of bed. They get in trouble and take on monsters. They eat chicken soup and rice, every day of the week, and curl up in their grandmother’s lap after coming back from space. Sendak used his pen to awaken our dreams and inspire us to be ourselves. His characters seemed to embody their thoughts and emotions so fully that they are still clearly imprinted upon our minds and hearts.
We shall miss you Maurice. Thank you for inspiring us to howl at the moon, dance with kings, and make soup with friends. Thank you for creating memories for parents and children that shall forever be cherished. Thank you for encouraging us to step more fully into our creative, imaginative and wonderful selves.
Shalom & Namaste