Maurice Bernard Sendak died today at the age of 83. The creator of Where The Wild Things Are, Sendak was a giant of children’s literature whose work has exhilarated and enthralled readers for almost 50 years. Playwright Tony Kushner called Sendak “one of the most important, if not the most important, writers and artists to ever work in children’s literature. In fact,” Kushner added, “he’s a significant writer and artist in literature. Period.”
Sendak was born in Brooklyn to Polish immigrants one month after Walt Disney introduced the world to Mickey Mouse, who captivated the young Sendak much as the fantastic creatures of his own mind would captivate later generations of children. His most famous work, Where The Wild Things Are, was published in 1963 and subsequently banned from many school libraries, in part because it beckoned its young readers to a darkly enchanting world that clashed with the sunny, insincerity of many other children’s books. Despite the controversy, the book launched Sendak’s career and is now a rite of literary passage for millions of children around the world.
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