Best known for such children’s classics as Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, author and illustrator Maurice Sendak died this week at the age of 83. Sendak will be missed by children and adults alike, as his style was truly unique. Though his books reside in the children’s department at the library, he did not consider himself children’s author, and indeed his books are beloved by people of all ages.
He was born in New York to immigrant parents, and described his early life as a “terrible situation” because many of his extended family had died in the Holocaust. Confined to bed by illness as a child, Sendak read and drew, preparing him for his later passion to illustrate and write. He actually began his professional life as an illustrator, contributing drawings to the Little Bear series.
Sendak’s style was very different from other children’s authors and illustrators partly because his characters were considered so grotesque and potentially too scary for little ones. Despite the early reviews, he won the Caldecott Medal in 1964 for Where The Wild Things Are, and went on to win other prestigious awards including the National Book Award for Outside Over There. We have made a special display in the Children’s Room of Maurice Sendak’s books. Discover a new title or re-read an old favorite.