Maurice Sendak: Learning How to be a Wild Thing

Maurice Sendak embraces what it means to be a wild thing in ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’ Children books carry lessons for adolescents and adults alike.

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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is a peculiar read about showing your wild side at a young age. You never truly outgrow that side of yourself. A wild thing is in all of us, and sometimes it needs reminding. Take a peek at some lessons I’ve gathered from this short yet sweet book. 

1. Be mindful of how you make other people feel.

Where the wild things are book cover by Maurice Sendak

Max, in Where the Wild Things Are, is sent to bed without supper because of wild antics in the house and to his mother and dog. It’s okay to be your most authentic self, but it should be recognized that you should be mindful of your behavior if it causes distress to other individuals. 

2. Use your imagination to escape from reality.

Sometimes when we are in a tricky situation, the best way to relax and unwind is to use your imagination to relax your mind. Whether that means reading or rereading an old favorite book or creating a world of your own to escape in, it’s a great time to unwind and escape the real world for a few hours. 

3. Looks can be deceiving.


When we first meet Max, some readers may view him as a bad kid, but in reality, he’s just having fun by playing make-believe. When he meets the Wild Things, they appear terrifying. Come to find out, they look and feel the same way Max does. They want to have fun and let their wild side out.

4. Everyone has a wild thing living inside them.


Just because you’re wild, that doesn’t make you bad. Every person has a little wild thing ready to be unleashed. Let yourself loosen up and have fun with a group of friends. Cause havoc and mayhem when the skies turn dark. Let your mind roam! You know you want to.

5. Love can be shown in different ways.

The Wild Things are a lot like Max. Sometimes their love can be all-consuming. This can be overwhelming for anyone, but you can reciprocate that love by setting boundaries like what Max did when he went back home. When he’s back in his room, his mother makes him supper, which is another form of love. Forgiveness is the purest form of love. 

Everyone has a little wild thing running around inside us. It just needs reminding from time to time. 

For more life lessons from children’s literature, click here and here