I was saddened to read this morning that famed author/illustrator Maurice Sendak had died.
As an art student many years ago at Parsons School of Design in New York City, I was among the fortunate few students who were able to have Maurice as an instructor in his children's picture book class, as he only taught there for a few years. He was one of my favorite instructors...
I remember him always encouraging the rebel within, to be honest with your expression, and avoid being safe. As a student in his class I marveled at his entertaining humor punctuated by the point blank criticisms yet delivered with warmth and total encouragement for us to be our best... I think in part because he knew some of us were going to attempt to follow in his footsteps and he wanted us to succeed in what is a very difficult industry. He was a brilliant writer/artist and the numerous things I learned from him helped me to develop my own career as a writer and illustrator of children's picture books.
He was an original voice that will be missed, but thankfully children (and adults) will be able to discover his books for many generations to come.
A handful of years ago when his picture book BRUNDIBAR was released, I met him again when he was doing a book signing at a Barnes & Noble here in the city... He remembered me from his class all those years ago. We chatted a bit about things and then he signed my copy of his book. What a thrill!
visit stevensalerno.com to view samples of his illustration work... and click on the kids' books section to see his picture books for children.