Maurice Sendak Dead: Author Of 'Where The Wild Things Are' Passes Aged 83

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 08/05/2012 13:49 Updated: 08/05/2012 17:08

Maurice Sendak
Maurice Sendak changed how we looked at children's fiction forever

Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, has died aged 83.

He passed away following complications after a recent stroke in Danbury, Connecticut. The news was confirmed by his longtime editor Michael di Capua.

Born in New York in 1928 to Polish Jewish immigrant parents, Sendak's childhood was tinged by death as many of his extended family died in The Holocaust.

He grew up to become a successful illustrator throughout the 1950s when he brought other people's stories to life, most notably Else Holmelund Minarik's Little Bear series.

Eventually he began to write stories himself, and Where the Wild Things Are soon followed in 1963. It would soon change not only his life, but the way writers and artists approached picture books forever.

The story of Max, a young boy who travels to a land of fierce horned creatures before becoming their king, was initially deemed too frightening and rejected by schools, parents and critics.

Children, however, had their ideas and wouldn't leave it alone. By 1965 public opinion of the book had began to change.

Where the Wild Things Are is now considered a classic piece of children's fiction and has sold over 20 million copies around the world. It has been adapted into a play, an opera and, in 2009, a film directed by Spike Jonze.

Sendak wrote and illustrated many other titles, including In the Night Kitchen (1970) and Outside Over There (1981) which form a trilogy with Where the Wild Things Are.

His last title and first for 30 years was a picture book called Bumble-Ardy. When it was released last September it spent five weeks on New York Times children's best-seller list.

A posthumous title, My Brother's Book, will be published next year.

Sendak outlived his partner of fifty years, psychoanalyst Eugene Glynn, who died in 2007.

Watch one of the last recorded interviews with Sendak before he died:

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