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Maurice Sendak talks about his childhood and respecting children in a new animated interview clip

PBS’s Blank On Blank series keeps turning out little gems built from interview excerpts. In honor of the anniversary of the late Maurice Sendak’s birthday, the latest video animates portions of a 2009 interview by Andrew Romano and Ramin Seetodeh for Newsweek. Sendak discusses his difficult childhood, being protected by his siblings, and how that led to his view of children as far more intelligent and wily that adults give them credit for. He even describes a story his brother wrote that Sendak illustrated about a surreal wedding between a brother and sister. It’s a gorgeous and surprisingly elaborate extrapolation of Sendak’s ideas, with the black and white images matching perfectly with Sendak’s personality and tone. Sendak gave a few interviews in the final years of his life—notably a multi-part interview with Stephen Colbert—on what he viewed as a disheartening turn in children’s literature away from grappling with darkness and the harshness of life. This video captures the fierce realist toughness Sendak put into his work, in contrast to every other saccharine book aimed at shielding kids from the inevitable difficulties of life.

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