Maurice Sendak dead at 83
NEW YORK – American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, whose children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” has been a standard bedtime story for at least three generations, has died at the age of 83.
Sendak died during the night at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut from complications from a recent stroke, a hospital spokesperson said on Tuesday. He lived in nearby Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Sendak, who was born in Brooklyn in 1928 and was dubbed by one critic as the Picasso of children’s books, illustrated more than 50 books during his long career and won a number of prizes for his drawings. The Swedish government awarded him the Hans Christian Andersen Award for children’s book illustration in 1970.
The Kane Funeral Home in Ridgefield confirmed it had been contacted by the family to handle funeral services.
Sendak, who was a sickly child, spent much of his time indoors. He enjoyed books and drew throughout high school. He became a professional illustrator after working briefly as a window dresser at the F.A.O. Schwarz toy store in New York and taking classes at the New York Art Students League.
He illustrated his first book, “The Wonderful Farm” in 1951 and won international acclaim in 1963 with “Where the Wild Things Are” about a boy who imagines a world of toothy monsters. The following year the American Library Association awarded him the prestigious Caldecott Medal for his illustration in the book.
Dozens of other children’s book following including “In the Night Kitchen” in 1970, which is dedicated to his parents, and “Outside Over There” in 1981.
In 1996 then President Bill Clinton awarded Sendak the National Medal of Arts.
Sendak also worked as a costume and stage designer for operas by Ravel, Mozart and others.
“Bumble-Ardy,” the first book in three decades in which he did both illustrations and text, was released in September by HarperCollins Publishers.