“I don’t write for children. I write. And someone says, ‘That’s for children’.”
Maurice Sendak died today. Well, he died the day I’m writing this, you may just as well be reading this two months from now. But it’s called “setting the mood.” I get to do that, when you have a blog one day, you can set the mood however you want.
He leaves a long legacy of writing books, and everyone knows his most famous, “Where the Wild things Are.” I won’t pretend to be too cool to not have read that one. In fact I read it at the beginning of this year. Its message of letting yourself be who you are is a timeless message. Also, wolf costumes and crowns never go out of style.
What I admire about Maurice Sendak, and will endeavor to incorporate into my teaching, is his ability to not underestimate kids. This is an important lesson and one we should all remember. Too often we want to sanitize things for kids, pretend that some things are too big for them to understand. And this doesn’t just happen to younger kids, it happens all the time, up to and including High School. We think if we pretend that kids won’t understand something, then they won’t have to go through it. And that’s a terrible disservice we do not only to our children, but ourselves. It’s one of the reasons why books are banned or challenged… in an effort to protect children or teenagers.
It’s important to note in all of this that “Where the Wild Things Are” was a banned book for a while. Only its popularity eventually rescued it, proving once and for all that “obscene” is a subjective thing. Something is only “obscene” until it can make you money, then it’s “art.”
However, in order to honor Maurice Sendak, I will plan on putting on my finest wolf costume, wearing my finest crown, and letting the wild rumpus begin. My dinner will be warm when I get home.
R.I.P Maurice… Rumpus in Peace…