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Children's Author Leaves Legacy of Wild Things

  • Penelope Poulou

In this September 6, 2011 photo, children's book author Maurice Sendak is photographed doing an interview at his home in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

In this September 6, 2011 photo, children's book author Maurice Sendak is photographed doing an interview at his home in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Maurice Sendak, one of the most important American children’s book authors of the 20th century, has died at the age of 83 of complications from a recent stroke.

In Where the Wild Things Are, Max is a hyperactive boy with an imaginary world inhabited by wild monsters.
Maurice Sendak created this wild children's book, which became a movie in 2009. Where the Wild Things Are is his most famous creation.

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At a New York exhibit of his illustrations,curator Nick Leone had this to say about Sendak's work. "Maurice Sendak, I think, to the world has made such a huge impression with his illustrations and his technique and his story because there's alwasy a story within the story. So once you read one of his stories and you understand beyond being a child, as an adult looking back, you can understand what the story is all about," he said.
In The Wild Things, Max misbehaves. He escapes into a world where he leads a wild rumpus.
For more than 50 years, Sendak wrote and illustrated books focusing on kids’ fears, insecurities, and complexes. “Where the Wild Things Are,” first published in 1963, changed the image of kids in literature as well-scrubbed and well behaved.
Throughout his life, Sendak refused to be regarded as a children’s writer. He said he wrote about the human condition.
And he refused to give in to popular trends like ebooks.
Earlier this year, in one of his last TV interviews, he told Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert he was not fond of ebooks. "I hate those ebooks. They cannot be the future. They may well be. I will be dead," he said.

Sendak’s art went beyond books. In the second half of his career, he designed theatrical sets.
One of his happiest moments was when “Where the Wild Things Are” came out as a movie. “It feels very string," he said. "This whole procedure is very strange. I don't believe this is happening. It's a dream, right?"
Maurice Sendak will always be remembered for Max and his monsters.
He showed how the inner world of even the most frail is inhabited by wild things.
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