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The Death of an Author, Felt in the Ozarks

Works of Sendak
Credit: KSMU-Shane Franklin

Maurice Sendak is the well-known author of children’s books like Outside Over There, In the Night Kitchen, and Where the Wild Things Are.  His death is a great loss of a literary giant, according to Cherrie Jones, a director at Meyer Library on the Missouri State Campus. She grew up with his books, and had a lot to say after hearing of his death.


“I really think he knew children inside and out. I think he kept that childlike quality for his whole life, and I think that’s why we love him.”


She explains that adults can appreciate the humor found within his stories, too. She says his books are classic.


“He is timely and timeless. Children’s Librarians always say that the classic books that will last through the ages are timely and timeless. They hit you right where you are right now, and thirty years from now you’re going to be hit in the same way, because the author or illustrator have captures something that is really essential to the human experience, no matter where you are. “


While in the library, flipping through the pages of his works, she stops on a page in Where the Wild Things Are, and comments on the significance of his narratives.


“So when Max goes to the island and meets these wild things, and immediately tames them, children feel pretty comforted by that. There are scary things out in the world, but they can handle it., and that is why I like Maurice Sendak so much. He empowers children.”


According to Jones, Sendak not only empowered children with his colorful tales and unique illustrations, but he felt what the children felt. He captured the imagination and fantasies of a child, and gave children the freedom to experience and appreciate their own world.


“The end of this book to me is just quintessential Sendak. ‘He goes into the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him.. and it was still hot.”


Sendak was 83 years old. For KSMU News, I’m Shane Franklin.