Sendak world comes alive at library
Skokie Public Library Clerk Yan Lin works in front of a mural, part of a temporary exhibit about popular illustrator Maurice Sendak, which is currently on display at the Skokie Public Library. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 27, 2012 8:15AM
It’s hard for families to get past the east side lobby of the Skokie Public Library these days.
That’s where they’re greeted by the world of renowned illustrator Maurice Sendak.
The national traveling exhibition, “The Worlds of Maurice Sendak,” will remain there through Feb. 26.
Sendak illustrated more than 100 picture books including famous titles such as “Where the Wild Things Are” and “In the Night Kitchen.”
In addition to displays of murals and books and most noticeably, an eye-catching “life-size” Wild Thing, the exhibition explores the history of this legendary creative force.
As a child, he became fascinated with worn black-and-white photographs of his European relatives, and “the threads of Jewish family, geography, and culture can be seen throughout his imaginative works,” reads the exhibition information available at the library.
It’s a mistake to believe Sendak’s works though are only for children. Rather, they work on multiple levels, as some of the best picture books do.
The illustrator explores in creative ways heavy subjects such as immigration, urban life, nostalgia, the New versus the Old World, even the legacy of the Holocaust.
Library officials say the exhibition has been popular with families, and Sendak’s books have been checked out frequently.
The library has scheduled several events in February around the exhibition.
Feb. 11, 10:30 AM: Breakfast with Books. In a special story time, the library will share favorite picture books by Sendak. For ages 2 to 7 with a grown up. No registration is required.
Feb. 15, 7 p.m.: Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak. A tribute film to Maurice Sendak featuring Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze, director of the film version of “Where the Wild Things Are,” will be screened. No registration is required.
Feb 22, 7 p.m.: Illustrate Your Life. Local picture book illustrator Terri Murphy will lead an art and writing workshop in which participants will see their own words transformed into a short lyrical booklet. Registration is required.
Feb. 25, 11 a.m.: Wild Things: An Interactive Concert of Maurice Sendak’s Works. VOX3 will offer a taste of opera for children and families. Performers will present highlights from musical dramas based on Sendak’s works creating stories told in a new way. Free tickets are available at 10:30 a.m.
For more information, access www.skokielibrary.info or call (847) 673-7774.