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'Wild Things' Author Maurice Sendak Celebrated In Ridgefield, Brooklyn

Children at The Maurice Sendak Community School in Brooklyn help to unveil the "Where the Wild Things Are" mural on June 10. Photo Credit: The Maurice Sendak Foundation
The new mural depicts Max and the wild things from Maurice Sendak's famed children's book. Photo Credit: The Maurice Sendak Foundation
Brian Selznik, author and illustrator of "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," reads "Where the Wild Things Are" to children at P.S. 118 on June 10. Photo Credit: The Maurice Sendak Foundation

RIDGEFIELD, CONN. – Let the wild rumpus start!

Maurice Sendak was celebrated recently both in Ridgefield and at a Brooklyn, N.Y., school named after him. The famed author and illustrator was best known for his book "Where the Wild Things Are."

At the Ridgefield event, First Selectman Rudy Marconi presented the Maurice Sendak Foundation with a proclamation issued by Gov. Dannel Malloy declaring June 10 "Maurice Sendak Day.”

Sendak was a Brooklyn native and longtime Ridgefield resident. He died in 2012 and would have been 87 on June 10.

“Maurice would have been very touched,” said foundation President Lynn Caponera, after the proclamation was made.

The foundation is a non-profit established by Sendak to support emerging authors and illustrators, and education initiatives.

The party was also going on at The Maurice Sendak Community School (P.S. 118 in Park Slope, Brooklyn), which calls itself a small, collaborative learning community. Established in 2013, it serves children from pre-K through first-grade. It was named after Sendak as a tribute, it says, to his influence on the “creativity and imagination” of young people.

One of the highlights of the Brooklyn birthday bash was the official dedication of a large “Where the Wild Things Are” mural in the school’s entrance. Paid for by the foundation, it was painted by Michael Hagen, a longtime friend and collaborator of Sendak’s.

Brian Selznik, author and illustrator of “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” also read from “Wild Things” to children at the school. He called the book “probably the most influential book on the work I do as an adult.”

“The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” won Selznik a Caldecott Medal and has been adapted into a Martin Scorsese film.

“I feel like every book I do is just a riff on ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’” he said.

“We are overjoyed to celebrate Maurice’s birthday in a place where his work is an inspiration for so many young people,” said Caponera. “Maurice had tremendous respect for children and believed that they should have the space to let their minds go free. P.S. 118 is certainly a place for that, and we hope Maurice Sendak Day will be a day when we all can be wild things.”

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