Maurice Sendak (1928-2012)

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Maurice Sendak (1928-2012)

Maurice Sendak, beloved author and illustrator of children’s books, including Where The Wild Things Are, is dead at the age of 83, the New York Times reported this morning.

The son of Polish Jewish immigrants, Sendak was born in Brooklyn and lost much of his extended family in the Holocaust. He began his career illustrating books written by others, beginning with Atomics for the Millions in 1947 before authoring Kenny’s Window in 1956. His 1960 book The Sign on Rosie’s Door was adapted into an animated TV series Really Rosie he produced in 1975, featuring the voice of Carole King.

His 1970 book In the Night Kitchen ranked #21 on the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books list from the American Library Association, having been banned several places because of illustrations of a boy prancing naked through the story.

His most famous book, 1963’s Where the Wild Things Are sold more than 19 million copies worldwide. It was adapted into an animated short in 1973, an opera in 1980 and a feature film directed by Spike Jonze in 2009. The book won the 1964 Caldecott Medal for illustration.

Sendak was the cover subject of Paste’s September 2009 issue. You can read Charles’ McNair’s tribute here.