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

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.

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

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Written by Anisa Raoof