Maurice Sendak died today at the age of 83. His 1964 Caldecott Medal Book, Where The Wild Things Are, has been a childhood favorite of generations of children.
You can listen to Maurice Sendak read his book at BN.com. When this book was published in 1963, most books featured well behaved children (or animals)whose problems were solved by the end of the book. Perhaps taking cues from his own childhood, Sendak’s characters had untidy emotions and unsettling inner lives. He understood that children do not live in cocoons protected from everything happening around them. In an interview he said, “. . .from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions, fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, they continually cope with frustrations as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things.”