Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Favorite Books: Where the Wild Things Are

Unless you haven't watched the news or picked up a paper or been online this week, you know that we lost a groundbreaking children's writer/illustrator. I grew up not too far from where Maurice Sendak lived. The girl who was his caretaker in the last years of his life grew up two houses down the street from me.

Because of that and the fact that I loved Where the Wild Things Are as a wee lad (and as a large lad for that matter), I think it's only fitting that I feature this classic book in this week's column. A while back, I wrote about  my brush with Mr. Sendak. His living so close made being a children's book writer not just some nebulous concept, but something real.

Why this is one of my favorite books.

Aside from the fact that Maurice Sendak lived in the same town that I grew up in, the book has a special meaning for me. It's the first book that I remember being read to me. It was published the year I was born, so it was still new

I identified with the main character, Max. He was a wild thing, as was I. I liked to run around. I also liked the idea of going to another world, which is probably the one theme that really resonates with me. Besides that, the wild things were cool.

What I didn't know when I first read it.

I didn't know much of anything when this book was first read to me. That's probably why it's stuck with me, because it's just about the first book I remember. I didn't know that I would one day write a children's book of my own. 

I also didn't know how long and winding a journey I would be taking in becoming an author, albeit a part time one. Where the Wild Things Are was the first step that I took on that journey. Thanks Mr. Sendak.


  1. What a wonderful tribute to an amazing author and illustrator. I love how you explained the connection you had with him and I agree with you that his work was inspiring. This was a favorite of mine growing up. :)


  2. He was great because he didn't talk down to children. He treated them as regular people. What a great imagination.