Madeleine L’Engle once said, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grownups, then you write it for children.”
Maybe this is why the books that taught me the most were the ones I read so early. There is no doubt that The Very Hungry Caterpillar taught me about process and patience, Green Eggs and Ham that I could change my mind, and The Little Engine That Could about persistence and the limitations we put on ourselves. Amelia Bedelia proved that we can’t take life too literally or ourselves too seriously. Anastasia taught me to make lists… and throw them out. Ping taught me there was a big world to explore. And I cannot forget the stories that gave me perspective in life’s difficult moments: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; Tight Times; and of course, Where the Wild Things Are.
Maybe the truth of Madeleine L’Engle’s statement is also the reason we are continually drawn back into these stories and why Dave Eggers has more stories to tell about Max in his book Wild Things and with Spike Jonze in the movie Where the Wild Things Are opening this weekend. The trailer is beautiful, and I certainly hope that the entire story is as well.
Thanks to the hype and marketing of the movie, Urban Outfitters has an entire Wild Things shop. I stumbled upon a key chain of Max at the store this weekend and was captivated by the tag. Two dollars of every purchase is given to the non-profit organization 826 National. Thanks to this seemingly infinite Web, I have now learned the goal of the organization is “to assist students ages six to eighteen with their writing skills, and to help teachers get their classes excited about writing.” To find out more about this organization (including its unique original location) and how you can support it, watch the video and visit the website.
I’m looking forward to the day that one or more of these students add a classic to the canon of children’s literature and tell an important story, too difficult for grownups.