Today would have been author Maurece Sendak’s 85th birthday. Sendak passed away in 2012. But his effects on me and countless others will be felt for decades to come.

Sendak was inspiring as an author. The simplicity with what he wrote was astounding, especially given the fact that his books aren’t rainbows and butterflies. One of my favorite quotes I heard from Sendak was this:

“Children are tough, though we tend to think of them as fragile. They have to be tough. Childhood is not easy. We sentimentalize children, but they know what’s real and what’s not. They understand metaphor and symbol. If children are different from us, they are more spontaneous. Grown-up lives have become overlaid with dross.”

As I grew older, this is what I came to respect the most about Sendak. He understood childhood. He understood the highs and the lows, the good times and the bad times. He understood that just because a child is young doesn’t mean he or she isn’t affected and aware of events in the world. H gave the world “Where The Wild Things Are” and for that alone, he will have my eternal gratitude. Happy birthday, Maurice. Just know that my feelings for your stories can be summed up like this: I’ll eat it up, I love it so.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

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