Sad but true: I rely on twitter for my news. This morning, I checked the trending topics and all sleepiness left me in a second. Most trending topics had to do with Maurice Sendak, Max, and the wild Things. Unlike many twitter deaths, this one was real. It might be that I’m over-emotional. Being in the last trimester of my fifth pregnancy gives me that right. The thing is that I’ve spent most of the morning mourning for someone I never met in real life, but oh! how much influence he’s had in mine!

I didn’t know about Max and the Wild Things when I was a kid (I know. I cry for little Yamile too), but my husband did. In fact, in his early childhood, Jeff thought he was THE Max. I have pictures and countless family stories to prove it. Jeff, the epitome of a business man, always busy and on the phone, was a Max.
This morning he was already busy on the phone, but when I told him the news, I caught a glimpse of the young boy he was, and what sad news this were for him. 
I read Where the Wild Things Are for the first time when my Handsome Boy was still a little baby. I loved it immediately. It wouldn’t become our family’s book until El Cangri came along, and he hit his crisis that lasted the good part of his first four years. With El Cangri, we read the book first thing in the morning, before nighttime, and before bedtime–in both, English and Spanish. El Cangri knew all the words. He still does. Every time we reached the page in which Max is chasing the poor dog with a fork, he’d ask if the dog was Coco (our Maltese), and I said yes. His eyes would get all shiny and bright as he whispered, “And that’s me!” I’m sure he wondered how in the world he had ended up in the pages of a book. 
One Halloween, before I even knew the movie was coming out, I made a wolf costume for El Cangri, which is still our kids’ favorite outfit 🙂 
El Cangri during his Max stage

Now, my Princess Peach reminds me so much of Max, although in a different way. She’s not mad (usually); she’s just plain wild. I love her so much for it! The dogs are terrified of her though. The other day, Jeff spent a long time searching for Dandi, our Yorkie. He finally found her here:
Dandi, waiting for Papa to rescue her

I read through my twitter feed and was touched by the way thousands of people said their goodbyes to Maurice. Perhaps the one tribute that hit me the most was: “I hope someone kept supper warm for you.”
There’s a lovely article on The New York Times too. (Disclaimer: the comments made me cry more than the article itself. Just saying).
Have a lovely trip, Maurice, sailing the seas to where the wild things are, you King of them all!

Please share: What’s your favorite Sandak book or any other kids’ book? I’d love to have a discussion!

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Yamile Saied Mendez

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American, Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult author.

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