As some of you may already know, children’s books author Maurice Sendak passed away recently. I remember reading In The Night Kitchen over and over to my two young boys…”milk for the batter, milk for the batter…”.
But most people remember him for Where the Wild Things Are. Can you believe he was a pioneer? A rebel? Some people thought his books too disturbing and too adult-ish for young children. Here is a quote from his Caldecott Medal Speech in 1964:
“‘…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.’”
We may not wish to think it’s so, but it is. We think we insulate children from the real world; we do not. Maurice’s voice was a prophet’s trumpet in the wilderness of cultural blah-dom. We’ll miss you, Maurice!