Maurice Sendak school celebrates author’s birthday

Maurice Sendak school celebrates author’s birthday
Photo by Jason Speakman

They let the wild rumpus start!

Kids at Park Slope’s PS 118, the Maurice Sendak Community School celebrated the June 10 birthday of their school’s namesake by reading Sendak’s classic tome “Where the Wild Things Are” and unveiling a new mural featuring images from the widely-beloved book.

The school, which adopted the Bensonhurst-born author and illustrator’s moniker after he passed away in 2012, hopes to make “Sendak Day” an annual event, said the principal.

“We feel that we needed to develop a ways to honor his spirit and his memory,” said principal Elizabeth Garraway.

The school threw the birthday bash with the help of the Maurice Sendak Foundation, which works to promote the eponymous author’s work and the arts in general. The foundation also donated a large mural for the school’s main hallway that features a scene from “Where the Wild Things Are” and was painted by another friend of the author, illustrator Michael Hagen.

Brooklyn children’s book author Brian Selznick, a longtime friend of Sendak’s and a renowned author in his own right, joined the party to give a spirited reading to some of the youngsters and lead them in a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Selznick said it was an honor to have been invited.

“I was proud as a friend to be asked to read,” said Selznick, who wrote the Caldecott Medal-winning book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” which Martin Scorsese made into the 2011 film “Hugo.”

The school’s pre-kindergarten class also staged a live rendition of Sendak’s famous book, while other classes danced, sang songs in both English and Spanish, and performed plays.

Garraway said it was an ideal tribute to the venerated children’s author.

“What better way to celebrate Maurice’s birthday?” she said.

Author, author: Brian Selznick, author of “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” which became the movie “Hugo,” reads the classic children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” to students at the Park Slope school named after its author, Maurice Sendak.
Photo by Jason Speakman