Maurice Sendak, fully Maurice Bernard Sendak

Sendak, fully Maurice Bernard Sendak

American Writer and Illustrator of Children's Literature best known for Where the Wild Things are

Author Quotes

When I did 'Bumble-ardy,' I was so intensely aware of death. Eugene, my friend and partner, was dying here in the house when I did 'Bumble-ardy'. I did 'Bumble-ardy' to save myself. I did not want to die with him. I wanted to live, as any human being does.

When Mozart is playing in my room, I am in conjunction with something I can't explain... I don't need to. I know that if there's a purpose for life, it was for me to hear Mozart.

When Papa was away at sea, and Mama in the arbor... Ida played her wonderhorn to rock the baby still - but never watched.

When you hide another story in a story, that?s the story I am telling the children.

William Blake really is important, my cornerstone. Nobody ever told me before he did that childhood was such a damned serious business.

With books today, I'm not always sure if they're truthful or faithful to what's going on with children. If you look at the work of Tomi Ungerer, it's passionate, it's personal, it's marvelous and it's cuckoo, and it's that's kind of veracity that's always made for good children's literature.

Yes, there have to be places for safe wonderful stories.

You can't get rid of evil. We can't, and I feel that so intensely. All the idiots that keep coming into the world and wrecking people's lives. And it is such an abundance of idiocy that you lose courage, okay? That you lose hope ? I don't want to lose hope. I get through every day ? I'm pretty good ? I work. I sleep. I sing. I walk. But, I'm losing hope.

You can't write masterpieces in your 80s and be happy too.

You don't want to do something that's all terrifying.

You get pushed and harassed and people grope you. It's too tumultuous, it's too crazy!

You know who my gods are, who I believe in fervently? Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson ? she's probably the top ? Mozart, Shakespeare, Keats. These are wonderful gods who have gotten me through the narrow straits of life.

Sipping once, sipping twice, sipping chicken soup with rice.

There should be a place where only the things you want to happen, happen.

What I do as best I can is out of a deep respect for children, for how difficult their world is.

So that it isn't upsetting to anybody. It's something we've always known about fairy tales ? they talk about incest, the Oedipus complex, about psychotic mothers, like those of Snow White and Hansel and Gretel, who throw their children out. They tell things about life which children know instinctively, and the pleasure and relief lie in finding these things expressed in language that children can live with. You can't eradicate these feelings ? they exist and they're a great source of creative inspiration.

There's a certain passivity, a going back to childhood innocence that I never quite believed in. We remembered childhood as a very passionate, upsetting, silly, comic business.

What is a children's-book artist? A moron! Some ugly fat pip-squick of a person who can't be bothered to grow up. That's the way we're treated in the adult world of publishing.

That always seemed to be the most critical test that a child was confronted with - loss of parents, loss of direction, loss of love. Can you live without a mother and a father?

There's so much more to a book than just the reading.

The attitude towards children was: Keep them calm, keep them happy, keep them snug and safe. It's not a putdown of those earlier books. But basically, they went by the rules that children should be safe and that we adults should be their guardians. I got out of that, and I was considered outlandish. So be it.

There's something in this country that is so opposed to understanding the complexity of children.

The blackbirds are in this book, they're both pro the kids and against the kids. Just like fate. Sometimes it goes your way. Sometimes... and also a blackbird is from my passion for Schubert songs and his blackbirds and his birds of doom or birds of good. ? some people were baffled that in the last big picture of that book, there's a crucifix on the wall of the children's house. Everybody assumes the hero and heroine are Jewish and the mother is Jewish. They're not. They're not. ? That was my point. Those kids were in the wrong place at the wrong time. And all children were in the Holocaust. Everybody was in the Holocaust. So, I made sure my hero and heroine were not Jewish children. That was too easy. That was too easy.

These Republican schnooks would be comical if they weren't not funny.

The day after Paul Newman was dead, he was twice as dead.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Sendak, fully Maurice Bernard Sendak
Birth Date

American Writer and Illustrator of Children's Literature best known for Where the Wild Things are