The man behind the children's book "Where the Wild Things Are"died this morning from complications of a stroke last Friday in Danbury, Connecticut. Maurice Sendak was 83.
“I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can't stop them. They leave me and I love them more.”
― Maurice Sendak
"Where the Wild Things Are" was written in 1963 and was Sendak's best known work. The author had a unique style that was dream like making the book one of the most popular mainstays in children's literature. Sendak believed that children were tough critics and that he enjoyed writing for them. In 2003 he told The Associated Press:
"I write books as an old man, but in this country you have to be categorized, and I guess a little boy swimming in the nude in a bowl of milk (as in 'In the Night Kitchen') can't be called an adult book. So I write books that seem more suitable for children, and that's OK with me. They are a better audience and tougher critics. Kids tell you what they think, not what they think they should think."
Sendak wrote some of today's best loved children's books. While "Wild Things" was his most popular the story of two children who needed to earn money to buy milk for their sick mother, "Brundibar" was the book he was most proud of.
Born in 1928 in Brooklyn to Jewish-Polish immigrant parents Sendak's childhood was spent thinking of the children that lived in Europe during the Holocaust. His immediate family on his father's side were the only ones to survive WWII.
His dream of being an illustrator was realized in textbook titled Atomics for the Millions by Dr. Maxwell Leigh Eidinoff. In 1951 he was commissioned to work on "Wonderful Farm" by Marcel Ayme. Six years later he was illustrating his own children's books.
Sendak was not a fan of e-book, saying, "Fuck them is what I say, I hate those e-books. They can not be the future… they may well be… I will be dead, I won’t give a shit!"
Sendak's partner Dr. Eugene Glynn passed away in May 2007. The couple had been together for 50 years. Sendak donated $1 million to the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services to memorialize Glynn.