RIP Maurice Sendak, world-changer

"And Max, the king of all wild things, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all."

They say celebrity deaths come in threes. Eight days into this month and we already have the passing of Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch and children’s author/illustrator, Maurice Sendak. While I wasn’t devastated by MCA’s death, Sendak’s demise almost brought me to tears.

As a child, I read a lot. I worked my way through the local library’s entire picture book section; the ones that still stick out in my mind many years later are Where the Wild Things Are, The Stupids, and Everyone Poops. (Albeit, I first read Everyone Poops in Chinese, in Taiwan. I was fascinated by the drawings of animal poop.) The illustrators I still remember are Sendak and Tomie dePaola.

Maybe it was this double whammy that made Sendak’s death so much more poignant than Yauch’s. I enjoyed Beastie Boys but Sendak was not only my favorite picture book author, his artwork sent me to the card catalog (remember those?) in search of every book he ever illustrated. The darkness of Where the Wild Things Are appealed to eight-year-old me who already knew life wasn’t always happiness and sunlight; Little Bear touched me with the possibility of a sweet and serene love between mother and child.

It’s a little like part of me has died. I guess it has, in a way. Another bit of my childhood has slipped through my fingers, a piece of silk lost to the wind.

Wired has a memorial dedicated to the darkness.

How were you affected by the recent departures of Adam Yauch and Maurice Sendak?

Picture credit: Andrea Rodriguez Pabon

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