Maurice Sendak, Design for the poster of Where the Wild Things Are and Higglety Pigglety Pop! Opera, Glyndebourne Production (1985), watercolor on paper, 33 1/2 inches x 23 1/2 inches
“I don’t set out to do books for children,” said artist and writer Maurice Sendak in a 2003 interview with art historian Jonathan Weinberg. “I don’t know how to do that. I don’t think anybody knows how to do that.”
Such an attitude might be surprising, given Sendak’s success as a children’s book author, most notably for the enduringly popular Where the Wild Things Are, which he wrote and illustrated in 1963. But behind his words is a conviction that children know more than adults generally give them credit for.
“People keep things from children now,” he continued, “in the sense that we don’t want to frighten them or upset them, yet we all know they sat and watched the [World Trade Center] towers go down a hundred thousand times. They’re just waiting for you to tell them.”