Maurice Sendak (1928 - 2012)

Maurice Sendak was a giant in the children's literature world whose titles include Seven Little Monsters, Fantasy Sketches, Outside Over There and Where the Wild Things Are.

He said his love for books developed when he was young and had health complications that confined him to his bed. And for more than 50 years of penning and illustrating some of the most popular hardbacks and paperbacks around, he inspired the humor and imaginations (dark and light) and shaped the worlds of children's literature.

Sendak died this morning from complications from a stroke. He was 83.

His most celebrated piece, Where the Wild Things Are, was written in 1963. In it, Sendak tells the story of a young Max who discovers and explores the monsters who inhabit his dreams.

Sendak also illustrated the book, which initially caused a stir for being too dark, and was initially banned from school libraries.

Audiences grew to love Sendak's honesty and imagination and Where the Wild Things Are won the Caldecott Medal, has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, and was made into a full-feature film by Spike Jonze in 2009.

Sendak spoke with Stephen Colbert in January:

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton

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