Maurice Sendak (1928-2012), the great writer and illustrator of children’s books, would have turned 85 today. To celebrate his birthday, Google has adorned its web site with a fantastic animated doodle (make sure you press the “play” button) and Blank on Blank has released a video that animates Sendak’s musings about being a kid. Based on a previously-unheard interview recorded in 2009, Sendak speaks in the clip about his difficult childhood, which was surrounded by tragedy. (He grew up in Brooklyn, the child of Polish Jewish immigrants whose remaining family perished during the Holocaust.) He also recalls how children all have problems to work through — problems that remained at the front of his mind when he started writing his classic children’s books. It’s worth pairing the video above with another animated video of Sendak’s emotional last interview with NPR’s Terry Gross. And, for a completely random bonus, we’ve added below a clip of James Gandolfini (aka Tony Soprano) reading from Sendak’s controversial story book In The Night Kitchen. The reading took place on September 15, 2008 at the 92nd St Y in New York City, at a tribute held on the occasion of Sendak’s 80th birthday.
The Late James Gandolfini, Star of The Sopranos, Appears on Inside the Actors Studio (2004)
The Mind & Art of Maurice Sendak: A Video Sketch
An Animated Christmas Fable by Maurice Sendak (1977)
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