Archive for the ‘Maurice Sendak’ Category

Celebration of Maurice Sendak today

June 10, 2013

sendak

Today 85 years ago, American author and illustrator Maurice Sendak was born in Brooklyn, New York, in a poor emigrant family from Poland. His major breakthrough was Where the Wild Things Are, 1963, where he all at once revolutionised the entire picture-book narrative. Unlike any other contemporary picture-book artist, he changed the entire landscape of the modern picture-book – thematically, aesthetically and psychologically. Primarily it is in the dozen or so books that Sendak has both written and illustrated, where he penetrated the most secret recesses of childhood.

He received a spate of awards, and in 1993 he was announced as the first recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (together with Austrian author Christine Nöstlinger).

Maurice Sendak passed away in May last year, and today we remember his works, not the least the characters in his books. Even Google commemorates Sendak with an animated doodle based on some of his best-known books.

Cover of Where the Wild Things Are (Harper and Row, 1963)

Cover of Where the Wild Things Are (Harper and Row, 1963)

Remembering Sendak at the Met

June 13, 2012

On Tuesday morning a memorial service for Maurice Sendak was held at the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The legendary author and illustrator, and recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2003, passed away in May at the age of 83.

Reporter Kathleen Horan at the WNYC Radio: “People think of him as a beloved, kiddie book author,” said Derick Dreher, director of Philadelphia’s Rosenback Museum, which has 10,000 pieces of Sendak’s work in their collection. “He hated that. He didn’t want to be beloved, he didn’t want to be a kiddie, book author. He wanted to be an artist.”

Tony Kushner, who helped organize the event, said when Sendak worked he had the ability to transform whatever he was facing or feeling. “He made — out of suffering —, sublime works of art.” But it was the sheer fun of just being with Sendak that Kushner said he missed most.

A wicked sense of humor was one of the many layers of Sendak’s personality highlighted by the array of speakers. It was also on display when the lights dimmed for a slideshow of Sendak’s soulful illustrations.

“What I found was not someone rigid, but deep with a sense of humor, who was willing to switch from his Mozart music to whatever ‘20s jazz I was listening to,” Art Spiegelman said.
Link to Kathleen Horan’s article here.

Yesterday, the Guardian published an interview with Taylor Hough, the British editor responsible for publishing Where the Wild Things Are in the UK. She last saw last saw Sendak in December, in the US, where he showed her the pages from the latest book on which he had been working: My Brother’s Book, an illustrated poem inspired by his love for his late brother Jack, which is due to be published next February.

“He was his usual self,” she says. “Very grumpy! Maurice was always a fairly sparky character.”

“Taylor Hough accepted the Astrid Lindgren Memorial award, the biggest prize for children’s literature, on Sendak’s behalf in 2003, as Sendak couldn’t make the event in Stockholm in person (he was at the opening night of Brundibar, the children’s opera for which he designed set and costumes, in Chicago). Speaking to the audience in Stockholm, she told of their first meeting in Sendak’s basement flat on New York’s West 9th Street, when she was 29 and new in her job, looking for US talent to bring to the UK via Bodley Head.”
Link to David Barnett’s article here.

Maurice Sendak passed away

May 8, 2012

The American author and illustrator Maurice Sendak died today at the age of 83, due to complications from a recent stroke. He recived the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2003, the first year the prize was presented. He shared the prize with the Austrian author Christine Nöstlinger.
– It was natural to give the prize to Maurice Sendak, he was widely considered as the most important children’s book artist, says Larry Lempert, chairman of the ALMA jury.
Maurice Sendak’s most famous book Where the Wild Things Are (1963) is a book about a dangerous journey taken by young Max to meet his inner aggressive demons. The book has been translated to many other languages and a feature film version has been made. Sendak has published nine books and illustrated many more.

The 100 “Greatest Books for Kids” by USA Today

February 15, 2012

USA Today has published a list of the 100 “Greatest Books for Kids,” ranked by Scholastic Parent & Child magazine. Two Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award recipients, Maurice Sendak (2003) and Katherine Paterson (2006) can be found on the list. Bridge to Terabithia made it to number 71, while Where the Wild Things are took a top ten position. Check out the full list here.

1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

2. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

4. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jacks Keats

5. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

7. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

8. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

9. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

10. Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel

Maurice Sendak creates exhibition

December 2, 2011

Today, the New York City’s Jewish Museum opens a very special exhibition – An Artist Remembers: Hanukkah Lamps Selected by Maurice Sendak.

The museum invited artist and illustrator Maurice Sendak (and recipient of the 2003 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award) to choose a group of Hanukkah lamps from the collection. The exhibition features thirty-three Hanukkah lamps of varied eras and styles, along with two original drawings for Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories (1966) and In Grandpa’s House (1985), and audio excerpts of a conversation between Maurice Sendak and Jewish Museum curators. The lamps Sendak found most compelling and poignant are those that “go right to the heart,” whose “beauty is contained.”

Maurice Sendak, Final illustration for “Grandmother’s Tale,” in Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories (1966) by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Ink on paper, Maurice Sendak Collection, Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia.

For 83-year-old Sendak, choosing from among such a wealth of lamps was an emotional experience that brought up powerful memories, both joyful and haunting. Many of the pieces come from the vanished Eastern European world of his immigrant Jewish parents, so movingly evoked in his work and reflected in the two drawings on display. The sheer number of these lamps and their rich decoration – featuring Eastern European architectural motifs, elaborate floral ornamentation, and fantastic animals – stirred his deep sense of loss for the members of his family who perished in the Holocaust – a trauma he has attempted to work through in much of his art.

The exhibition will be available at New York City’s Jewish Museum until January 29, 2012.

More books for young people adapted to film?

October 25, 2011

In the wake of the Harry Potter movies, there seems to be an increase of getting books for young people to be adapted for screen these days, according to Swedish newspaper Metro. Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games will premiere in March next year, in Sweden, along with The mortal ­instruments by Cassandra Clare.



More books for young people to be film is Beautiful creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohls , together with Maximum ride: Angel experiment by James Pattersson. Successful screen versions that we can recommend is, of course, this year’s ALMA recipient Shaun Tan’s Lost Thing, and Spike Jonze’s film adaption of 2003 ALMA recipient Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.  


“I’m totally crazy, I know that. I don’t say that to be a smartass…”

October 7, 2011

“I’m totally crazy, I know that. I don’t say that to be a smartass, but I know that that’s the very essence of what makes my work good. And I know my work is good. Not everybody likes it, that’s fine. I don’t do it for everybody. Or anybody. I do it because I can’t not do it.” (Maurice Sendak in Guardian interview)

Maurice Sendak at his home in Connecticut, USA. Photo: Tim Knox for the Guardian

2003 ALMA recipient Maurice Sendak have received much attention in press and media lately. Not only for the fact that his latest book Bumble-Ardy (HarperCollins 2011) – the first one he has written as well as illustrated in 30 years – have been published, but also for his honest and direct statements in interviews. In last week’s very personal Guardian interview he explains how the grotesqueness of his characters came from his childhood. Another very moving and memorable interview recently made by journalist Terry Gross for American National Radio, is highly recommendable and available here.

Maurice Sendak was awarded the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2003; “Maurice Sendak is the modern picture-book’s portal figure. He is unparalleled in developing the picture-book’s unique possibilities of narrating – to the joy of constant new picture-book illustrators. Furthermore, he is one of the most courageous researchers of the most secret recesses of childhood – to the delight of constant new readers.” (jury citation).

L’enfant racine – soon in Swedish

February 20, 2011

In March Swedish picture book connoisseurs can finally enjoy Kitty Crowther’s L’enfant racine in their own language. Rotbarnet is published by Berghs Förlag in a translation by Gun-Britt Sundström.

L’enfant Racine is the dreamlike story about Leslie, a lonely woman living in the forest who tries to catch a fox which has taken three of her hens. She follows the traces of the fox deep in the forest where she meets a creature looking like a root crying on a stone. The Root Child in L´enfant racine (2003) is an enigmatic creature, perhaps the very root of life, who gives meaning and direction to the life of Leslie, the protagonist. It is noteworthy that, in this capacity, the Root Child is a complex character, both lovable and trying. In Kitty Crowther’s world there are no basic stereotypes.

Soon, the award office will publish a reader’s guide to the book on this page where we already have reader’s guides to books by Sonya Hartnett and Maurice Sendak.

A Maurice Sendak mural on the move

February 3, 2011

In 1961, Larry and Nina Chertoff’s childhood room on Manhattan was decorated with a mural, by no other than Maurice Sendak (2003 recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award). Picturing a parade of children and animals, it is the first and only mural Maurice Sendak has painted. The mural predates his groundbreaking picture book Where the wild things are with a couple of years.  

Now, 50 years after it was painted, the mural has been removed from the Chertoff’s apartment and transported to the Rosenbach Museum and Library, which houses the Sendak Gallery. It is currently being restored and will soon be shown to the public.

Friends of the work of Maurice Sendak, will surely recognize the little white dog leading the parade. It is Maurice Sendak’s own dog, Jennie, who appears in the books Kenny’s Window (1956) and What do you say, dear (1958). Jennie also plays the role of Max’s dog in Where the wild things are. Also in the parade, you’ll find Rosie from The sign on Rosie’s Door (1960) and the bear from The Little Bear Series.

In February and March, visitors to the Rosenbach are able to follow the conservation process in progress and meet the specialists working on the mural.

You can listen to Maurice Sendak talking with Larry and Nina Chertoff about the mural on radio program All things considered (National Public Radio).

President Obama lets the wild rumpus start!

December 12, 2010
At an easter function by the White House, President Obama read Where the wild things are by Maurice Sendak aloud to children gathered.
Reading picture books aloud to a group of children is not so easily done. They are best shared sitting next to each other, so both the child and the reader can simultaneously enjoy the text and illustration. That said, President Obama gets an A for effort as he – with much amusement – reads the story. Just watch as he “stares without even blinking once”!
In this next video, President Obama says reading books given to him by his mother laid the foundation for his future success. And when asked which was his favorite book as a child, he answers: “My favorite book, which continues to be one of my favorite books:  Where the wild things are. I love that book, and my wife still thinks I’m Max.”
Maurice Sendak was the first winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2003 (together with Christine Nöstlinger). His instant classic Where the wild things are changed the picture book forever.
As the jury’s citation read:
Maurice Sendak is the modern picture-book’s portal figure. He is unparalleled in developing the picture-book’s unique possibilities of narrating – to the joy of constant new picture-book illustrators. Furthermore, he is one of the most courageous researchers of the most secret recesses of childhood – to the delight of constant new readers.


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