“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.”
― Maurice Sendak
For more than forty years, the books Maurice Sendak has written and illustrated have nurtured children and adults alike and have challenged established ideas about what children’s literature is and should be. The New York Times has recognized that Sendak’s work “has brought a new dimension to the American children’s book and has helped to change how people visualize childhood.” Parenting recently described Sendak as “indisputably, the most revolutionary force in children’s books.”
According to Huffington Post:
As a tribute to the late Maurice Sendak, some of the best-loved children’s illustrators in America are donating original work to be auctioned at BookExpo America. The auction will also include a rare image created by Sendak himself. The 19th Annual Children’s Book Art Silent Auction is celebrating the author of Where The Wild Things Are, and all proceeds will be donated to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression.
Artists include Ruth Sanderson, Maira Kalman, Wendy Watson and Bruce Degen. “Maurice Sendak is probably the illustrator most universally revered by other illustrators working in the field today. He has been the gold standard by which all others are judged, and by which we judge ourselves,” said Sanderson in a press release put out by the auction.
The charity was chosen because Sendak fought against censorship after his book In the Night Kitchen was removed from shelves due to an image of one of the characters depicted in the nude.
The auction takes place on May 29th at BookExpo America in New York City.
Winner of the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are, in 1970 Sendak became the first American illustrator to receive the international Hans Christian Andersen Award, given in recognition of his entire body of work. In 1983, he received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from the American Library Association, also given for his entire body of work Beginning in 1952, with A Hole Is to Dig by Ruth Krauss, Sendak’s illustrations have enhanced many texts by other writers, including the Little Bear books by Else Holmelund Minarik, children’s books by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Randall Jarrell, and The Juniper Tree and Other Tales from Grimm. Dear Mili, Sendak’s interpretation of a newly discovered tale by Wilhelm Grimm, was published to extraordinary acclaim in 1988.
In addition to Where the Wild Things Are (1963), Sendak has both written and illustrated The Nutshell Library (1962), Higglety Pigglety Pop! (1967), In the Night Kitchen (1970), Outside Over There (1981), and, We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy (1993). He also illustrated Swine Lake (1999), authored by James Marshall, Brundibar (2003), by Tony Kushner, Bears (2005), by Ruth Krauss and, Mommy? (2006), his first pop-up book, with paper engineering by Matthew Reinhart and story by Arthur Yorinks. Since 1980, Sendak has designed the sets and costumes for highly regarded productions of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Idomeneo, Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and others. In 1997, Sendak received the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton. In 2003 he received the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an international prize for children’s literature established by the Swedish government. Maurice Sendak was born in Brooklyn in 1928. He now lives in Connecticut.