The world will be reminded for many weeks to come of the life and times of Maurice Sendak. Stories will recount his accomplishments, and his incredible talent as an illustrator will be remembered as the industry standard for future artists. But what about those of us left behind? How will we pay tribute to this great man of the 21st century? Through tears of loss? Or smiles in celebration of a life lived well and loved by many?
Albert Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. I agree. Knowledge allowed NASA to envision space travel, but it was imagination which lead to the moon landing. Knowledge allowed scientists to create the first super computer, but it was imagination which allowed one man to build a technology empire. Knowledge allows writers to sharpen their skills, but it is imagination which allows their stories to soar.
So who will pick up the torch laid down by Mr. Sendak and help carry the love of children's picture books to the next generation? We all will. As long as we stay true to the idea he had of discovering the best part of ourselves through the eyes of the children. Only then will we have paid the proper farewell to the genius of one man who only wanted to draw, yet ended up changing the way we see the world.
And although Mr. Sendak has left behind a legacy of rich imagination to entice readers for many years to come, I still believe that wherever the wild things might have taken this wonderful illustrator, there are lots of children waiting to greet him...