Sendak, who died this week, did not make books for children. He just made books. His linework was elegant, sometimes even cute, but always honest. He was wise, and he never patronised any readers, adult or child. I devoured interviews with Sendak: he was a grumpy, Jewish, brilliant, wise contrarian and he didn’t mellow as he aged. But then, he had never created mellow books. His coming out in 2008, age 80, was a final act of honesty.
Something Sendak once said is the epigraph of my next book. “I remember my own childhood vividly.” he explained. “I knew terrible things. But I knew I mustn’t let adults know I knew. It would scare them.”