Author and illustrator of over 50 children’s books during his lifetime, Maurice Sendak died Tuesday due to complications following a recent stroke. Most well known for his book Where the Wild Things Are (1963), he was both an award-winning author and artist. Nothing short of a character himself, Mr. Sendak graced us all with his unique perspective, timeless children’s literature, and expressive illustrations. We have lost one of the greats.
While Where the Wild Things Are is certainly one of his most well-known publications, Sendak’s other groundbreaking works include In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, Higglety Pigglety Pop! and The Nutshell Library. Bumble-Ardy, his first book in 30 years, was published by HarperCollins last year. A posthumous picture book, My Brother’s Book, is slated for 2012.
Sendak has said of his own writing, “I don’t write for children. I write, and then someone says, ‘That’s for children.’” He held similar sentiments for his art, and once said that he wanted to be acknowledged as more that a “kiddie-book artist”. By the time the accolades came in 1997 in the form of the National Medal of Arts, Sendak, already late in his life, had moved beyond the need for recognition. “I was accepted at the grown-up party,” he said in a 2002 interview. “The medal said, ‘American Artist,’ [but] by then, I didn’t need it.”
“The distinctions of fine art bore me to death,” Sendak added. Continue reading