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This Week: Maurice Sendak
This Week
March 12, 2004

This week on NOW:

Maurice Sendak has spent the past fifty years bringing an extraordinary world of fantasy and imagination to life. His landmark work Where the Wild Things Are established him as a visionary figure in children's literature and made an indelible imprint on children and adults, selling millions of copies. But what are the artistic motivations driving Sendak, who says: "I never set out to write books for children"? Bill Moyers gives viewers a look into the private world of Maurice Sendak in an unexpectedly candid interview that reveals the surprisingly dark influences at play in his complex work. Shaped by immigrant parents and the tragedy of the Holocaust, Sendak provides frank insight into his complicated psyche and a rare window into the soul of an acclaimed artist.

When USA TODAY asked Fidel Castro "What's the difference between your democracy and ours?" Castro replied, "I don't have to answer questions from Helen Thomas." David Brancaccio sits down with journalistic pioneer Helen Thomas, who, among many distinctions, became the first woman officer of the National Press Club, the first woman president of the White House Correspondents Association and the first woman member of the Gridiron Club and later its first woman president. Currently serving as Washington columnist for Hearst newspapers, Thomas is known for her tough questions, a reputation that now earns her a seat in the back row at White House press conferences. Thomas talks to Brancaccio about her experience covering administrations past and present, and why asking presidents tough questions is central to our democracy. "American people do not understand that we are the only forum in our society that can question a president. And if a president isn't questioned, a president can be a king, a dictator."

In Depth

Maurice Sendak

The Controversy Over Children's Literature

Child survivors of a concentration camp

BRUNDIBAR and the Children of Terezín

Take a Children's Literature Quiz

NOW's Book List

White House
Bill Moyers on Retiring from NOW

White House Correspondent Helen Thomas

Election 2004 on NOW


Talk about favorite books on the message boards.


Learn more about the issues discussed on NOW.

Read the complete transcript.

Streaming Video

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Bill Moyers talks with Maurice Sendak, part I.

Bill Moyers talks with Maurice Sendak, Part II.

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