In a Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak at the Providence Public Library

[ 1 ] March 6, 2012 |

New traveling exhibition explores the influence of Jewish culture and history in the work of renowned illustrator Maurice Sendak.

The Providence Public Library is delighted to host a traveling exhibition, “In a Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak.” The exhibit will be open to the public Friday, March 9 and run though Friday, April 20, 2012.

Maurice Sendak is best known as the illustrator of more than 100 picture books, including Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. He was born to Polish immigrants in Brooklyn in 1928, and his childhood was typically American in a number of ways. At the same time, he became fascinated as a child with the worn black-and-white photographs of his European relatives, and the influence of both of these worlds — the threads of Jewish family, geography, and culture — can be seen in his imaginative works.

The exhibit is an exploration of Sendak’s illustrations and picture books, revealing connections between these iconic works and Sendak’s childhood, family, and the popular culture of the time.

The colorful exhibit panels feature illustrations of ferocious creatures, curious children and vibrant neighborhoods, alongside thematic explorations of the Jewish culture and history — and Sendak’s own family experience — that influenced Sendak’s work.

“In a Nutshell” was organized by the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia, and developed by Nextbook, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Jewish literature, culture, and ideas, and the American Library Association Public Programs Office.

Providence Public Library is sponsoring free programs and other events for the public in connection with the exhibition, beginning with an Opening Reception on Sunday, March 11 from 2:00 — 4:00 pm. All are invited. Mike Fink, Professor of English at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), will deliver the keynote address: Genius is the Memory of Childhood.

Additional programs scheduled at the Library in conjunction with the exhibit include:

Providence Public Library150 Empire Street, Providence, RI 02903

Sunday, March 18 — 2:00 — 4:00 pm
Film Screenings (Library Auditorium, 3rd floor)
Animated Version Where the Wild Things Are (Scholastic)
Where the Wild Things Are (2009) Director, Spike Jonze
Cost: Free and Open to the public

Sunday, March 25 — 2:00 — 3:30 pm
Responses to Maurice Sendak’s Picture Books: Giggles, Gasps and Garlands
Joan Glazer, Professor Emeritus, Rhode Island College
Cost: Free and Open to the public

Sunday, April 1 — 2:00 — 3:30 pm
Sendak and Illustration Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges, Professor of Illustration, Rhode Island School of Design
Cost: Free and Open to the public

Category: books, community news, free / cheap, local venue

Anisa Raoof

about the author ()

Anisa Raoof is the publisher of She combines being a mom with her experience as an artist, designer, psych researcher and former co-director of the Providence Craft Show to create the go-to spot for families in Rhode Island and beyond. She loves using social media to connect parents with family-related businesses and services and promoting ways for parents to engage offline with their kids. Anisa believes in the power of working together and loves to find ways to collaborate with others. An online enthusiast, still likes to unplug often by reading books and magazines, drawing, learning to knit, making pop-up books with her two sons and listening to records with her husband.

Comments (1)

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  1. D says:

    If you are a Maurice Sendak fan and missed him on Steve Colbert’s show recently, it’s worth watching. However, if you have no sense of humor and are easily offended, then don’t watch it, and just appreciate Sendak’s books for whatever you see in them. And in general, if you have young children, parents should watch the interviews first without kids, so they will be prepared to explain some things.

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    I’m a Sendak fan, and I think he’s funny, honest, odd, and creative. Mr. Sendak was more than up to the task of responding to Mr. Colbert, who confuses most of his interviewees.

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