Farewell, Maurice Sendak

May 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Maurice Bernard Sendak, the author and illustrator most known for his award-winning children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, passed away today at the age of 83. 

Mr. Sendak was born June 10, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York.  He developed a love for drawing at an early age and, after seeing the Disney movie, Fantasia, decided he wanted to become a cartoonist.  His professional illustrator career began not with children’s books, but with art he contributed to a physics textbook written by his high school biology teacher.  Later, while working as a window decorator at F.A.O. Schwarz, he became aquainted with Ursula Nordstrom, the editor of children’s books at Harper and Row.  She guided him toward children’s book illustrations and he began creating images for a number of other authors’ books, including Else Holmelund Minarik’s original Little Bear series.  Eventually, he wrote and illustrated his own first book, Kenny’s Window in 1956.

Throughout his career, Mr. Sendak illustrated over 60 books.  Though his work sometimes drew criticism for what some saw as themes and illustrations considered too dark for children, his books were largely well-received, both by children and adults.   His book, Where the Wild Things Are, received the Caldecott Medal in 1964 which just this year appeared at number 5 on Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Books for Kids.  Last year, President Obama read the story to children at the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll.

Mr. Sendak’s talents went beyond children’s books; he also developed a number of opera and ballet productions for both stage and television.  He leaves behind a legacy of wildly inventive works and the library invites you to explore those found in our collection.  Browse our catalog of over 100 works by Maurice Sendak.

Additionally, here are some books written about Maurice Sendak available for checkout:


Sources for information found in this post include:


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