RIP Maurice Sendak

If you haven’t heard, Maurice died today of a stroke, at age 83.  Here is a nice five minute interview he gave in 2002 that ran on the PBS Newshour tonight.  It’s illuminating to hear him say, “I don’t know how to write for children.  I don’t think anyone knows how to write for children, and those that say they do are frauds.”

He goes on to say, “I write for me,” and adds that it isn’t always easy to be driven by something internally that is “riotous and strange.” What a great gift he gave to riotous strangers!

4 thoughts on “RIP Maurice Sendak

  1. Thanks, Morgan. I hadn’t seen that interview. Very interesting. I did see another interview with him where he said he didn’t like children very much and that he had had a very difficult childhood himself. What we write comes from places inside us most of us don’t recognize anymore. I think that may be so with him.


    • After posting this, I remembered one great story I heard. A woman wrote to him about how much her son liked his work, so Sendak sent the boy a signed drawing.

      The mother wrote back a little while later, apologizing, because the boy had eaten the drawing! She asked if he could send another, and in his reply, Sendak said he had never received such a compliment as her son “nourishing” himself so directly on his art!

      I can see where he might not “like” kids in any traditional sense – that might have caused him to work just on “happy” books.


  2. It’s hard to imagine the world, much less childhood without Mr. Sendak. How lucky we are to have had him share his great gifts.


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