The US author Maurice Sendak, who created the best-selling children’s book ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, has died at 83. Michael di Capua, his editor told The New York Times the author died in Danbury, Connecticut, after complications from a recent stroke.
Sendak wrote17 classic books and was best loved as an illustrator. His best-known book the 1963 tale of Max, who became the “king of all wild things” was a favourite that crossed generations. It was recently made into a Hollywood film in 2009, directed by Spike Jonze. The book was also made into an opera There have also been several other adaptations including an animated short in 1973 and an opera in 1980.The book sold more than 19 million copies worldwide and told the story of a boy who goes on a journey through his own imagination after he is sent to bed without supper.Considered controversial for its images when it was first published – which some claimed to have scared children – the book went on to earn Sendak a prestigious Caldecott Medal for best children’s book in 1964.
Born in 1928 and raised in Brooklyn, Sendak said his own life had been clouded by the Holocaust and that the events of World War II were the root of his raw and honest artistic style.His childhood dream to be an illustrator was realised in 1951 when he was commissioned to do the art for Wonderful Farm by Marcel Ayme and by 1957 he was writing his own books.
In 2009 and 2012 US President Barack Obama read Where The Wild Things Are at the White House Easter Egg Roll.When asked whether the president had any comment to make on Sendak’s death, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he had not asked, but was sure Mr Obama’s two daughters had read the book.’I know every parent must be a little bit in mourning today and every child who grew up with that book. It’s a sad day’, he added.
Sendak had a contagious sense of fun which is summed up in the quote below.
‘I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a postcard and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim, I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.’
Maurice Sendack 1928-2012