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Let’s Celebrate Maurice Sendak’s Birthday

parent reading with his kids

Here’s some interesting facts about this famed children’s author and illustrator on the occasion of his birthday.

Maurice Sendak (June 10, 1928 – May 8, 2012) is best known as the author and illustrator of the famous children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are.”  He is also known as the illustrator for the “Little Bear” series.  Dubbed “the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century” by The New York Times, Sendak has left his mark on generations of young readers.  In honor of this influential children’s author and illustrator’s birthday, here are some interesting facts about Sendak’s life.

1) “Where the Wild Things Are” was originally titled “Where the Wild Horses Are.”

In the original version of Sendak’s most famous work, the monsters that we have come to know so well were originally created to be fillies, foals, and mares. The kicker?  Sendak couldn’t draw horses!  After hearing about his inability to draw horses, Sendak’s editor asked what he could draw and he replied “things.”  Thus, wild horses became wild things.

2) Sendak’s “things” were inspired by his immigrant relatives.

Sendak modeled his monsters after how he viewed his immigrant relatives as a child.  He remembers, “They were unkempt; their teeth were horrifying. Hair unraveling out of their noses.”

3) Much of Sendak’s family was killed in concentration camps.

Sendak came of age in America at the same time the Nazis devasted much of Europe.  On the day of his bar mitzvah, Sendak’s father learned that many of their extended family members had been killed in concentration camps.  While he still attended Sendak’s celebration, Sendak recalled knowing that something terrible had happened because of how angry and upset his father’s face was.

4) Sendak’s hatred for e-books is well documented.

He is quoted as saying, “F*** them is what I say; I hate those e-books.  They cannot be the future … they may well be.  I will be dead,  I won’t give a s***!”

5) Sendak was gay but never came out to his parents.

While Sendak was with his partner Eugene Glynn for 50 years, Sendak never told his parents that he was gay.  He told The New York Times in 2008, “All I wanted was to be straight so my parents could be happy.”

Join us at The Maria Sanchez Show as we learn more about Maurice Sendak in honor of his birthday. Don’t forget to check out our latest program, Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown. Tune in on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PDT/7:00 p.m. EDT.

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