Reading & Literacy Obituary

Renowned Children’s Author Sendak Dies

By Lesli A. Maxwell — May 15, 2012 1 min read
Author-illustrator Maurice Sendak spends a moment with one of the "Wild Things" he designed for the operatic adaptation of his book Where the Wild Things Are, in 1985 in St. Paul, Minn.
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Maurice Sendak, the groundbreaking children’s author and illustrator who created some of the most indelible children’s stories in a generation, died May 8. He was 83.

Mr. Sendak—whose classic picture book Where the Wild Things Are can invoke simultaneously delight and fear—wrote and illustrated more than a dozen volumes that broke away from tradition.

His characters, such as Max in Where the Wild Things Are, and Pierre, in the same-titled volume that is part of Mr. Sendak’s “Nutshell Library,” were often naughty and annoying.

In a 1989 public-radio interview that aired on “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” Mr. Sendak said that he never wrote with children in mind, but that his stories nevertheless turned out to be for children. His books have been adapted to many classroom lessons.

Mr. Sendak got his start in children’s literature as an illustrator for other authors, including Else Holmelund Minarik, the creator of the “Little Bear” series.

Over the years, Mr. Sendak’s books received numerous awards, including the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are. Other titles he wrote and illustrated include In the Night Kitchen and Outside Over There, which together with Where the Wild Things Are form a trilogy; Higglety Pigglety Pop!; and “The Nutshell Library,” a boxed set of four volumes: Alligators All Around, Chicken Soup With Rice, One Was Johnny, and Pierre.

A new book of poems and illustrations by Mr. Sendak, titled My Brother’s Book, is set to be published next February, according to The New York Times.

A version of this article appeared in the May 16, 2012 edition of Education Week as Renowned Children’s Author Sendak Dies


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