Best known for Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak is a childhood reading staple. From Where The Wild Things Are to Higglety Pigglety Pop! there were plenty of childhood evenings devoted to the words of Maurice Sendak. He refused to lie to kids, and put everything he had into creating truly magical books for them. When he passed away in 2012, it was like a piece of collective childhood had gone with him.
On June 10, he would have been 87, and still as full of inspirational quotes as ever, I'm sure. Over 50 years have passed since Where The Wild Things Are was originally published, and it remains one of the most beloved kids books of all time. It's not often that books have that kind of staying power, especially not ones read by children so young. As if there was any doubt in that staying power, the movie adaptation came out in 2009, and renewed the love for all things Sendak all over There was something magical in the combination of Sendak's writing and illustrating that made kids fall in love with it for the rest of their lives. In honor of Maurice Sendak's magic, and his 87th birthday, here are 11 of his best quotes to live by.
1. “A book is really like a lover. It arranges itself in your life in a way that is beautiful. Even as a kid, my sister, who was the eldest, brought books home for me, and I think I spent more time sniffing and touching them than reading. I just remember the joy of the book, the beauty of the binding. The smelling of the interior. Happy.”
— Maurice Sendak
2. “I'll eat you up I love you so.”
— Where The Wild Things Are
3. “The qualities that make for excellence in children's literature can be summed up in a single word: imagination. And imagination as it relates to the child is, to my mind, synonymous with fantasy. Contrary to most of the propaganda in books for the young, childhood is only partly a time of innocence. It is, in my opinion, a time of seriousness, bewilderment, and a good deal of suffering. It's also possibly the best of all times."
4. “There's so much more to a book than just the reading.”
5. “There must be more to life than having everything.”
—Higglety Pigglety Pop!
6. “Truthfulness to life—both fantasy life and factual life—is the basis of all great art.”
7. “There should be a place where only the things you want to happen, happen.”
— Where The Wild Things Are
8. “Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, ‘Dear Jim: I loved your card.’ Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, ‘Jim loved your card so much he ate it.’ That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”
9. “As an aspiring artist, you should strive for originality of vision. Have something to say and a fresh way of saying it. No story is worth the writing, no picture worth the making, if it’s not the work of the imagination.”
10. “You cannot write for children. They’re much too complicated. You can only write books that are of interest to them.”
11. "I refuse to lie to children. I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence."
Image: Warner Bros.; Giphy