“A boy throwing a tantrum was considered dangerous behavior and Sendak was accused of glorifying Max’s anger, prompting psychologists to condemn it as ‘too dark and frightening.’ In a March, 1969 column for Ladies’ Home Journal, child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim called the book psychologically damaging for 3- and 4-year-olds. He thought the idea that a mother would deprive a child of food was an inappropriate form of punishment, and that it would traumatize young readers. Thus, it was banned heavily in the American South, and by libraries nationwide in the first years of its release.
Where the Wild Things Are has also been challenged over the years for images considered to promote witchcraft and supernatural elements.”
Where the Wild Things Are is a children’s book written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak in 1963. Sendak spent 4 years in a tug of war with editors over the content of the storyline, but eventually won out, and the book saw print in 1967. Despite objections over the content, and being banned around the country immediately after its release, it went on to win dozens of awards, including the coveted Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book, and the affection of generations of fans.
Children didn’t have summer camps in the Brooklyn he knew, so they were left to their own imagination. Sendak said that honesty meant portraying the childhood he knew- one filled with loss, fear, and boredom.
Initial objections to the story were over its psychoanalytical interpretations, which takes issue with Max’s process of learning to master his emotions.
Sendak’s work is beloved by children in the generations since its publication and has captured the collective imagination. Many parents and librarians, however, did much hand-wringing over the dark and disturbing nature of the story. They also wrung their hands over the baby’s penis drawn in In the Night Kitchen.