When I learned I was pregnant with my first child, I dreamed of decorating the nursery and picking out a layette. But what I really couldn't wait to do was fill the bookshelves with my childhood favorites. The first to be placed was a collection of Maurice Sendak books. Sure, every kid deserves a copy of Where the Wild Things Are, but it was the Nutshell Library that earned the place of honor on the shelf. I can still recite every poem from Chicken Soup With Rice and couldn't wait to lull my little one to sleep with Sendak's rhythmic words.
Perhaps that's why I feel like a relative — you know, that kooky uncle everyone has — has passed with the author's death this morning. Though Sendak bragged, "I never wrote a book where I taught a lesson," his influence on my and countless other parents and children's lives is immeasurable (and he is still as relevant today as he was when his original books were released — just check out his not-safe-for-children interview with Stephen Colbert from earlier this year). So though he may have been disappointed in this list, here are five lessons I'll take away from Maurice Sendak's library of work.