'Where The Wild Things Are' Author Maurice Sendak Dies
ABC News reports Sendak's death in Danbury, Conn., came four days after suffering a stroke.
His passing draws to a close an illustrious career in literature. He won the Caldecott Medal in 1964 for "Wild Things," the Hans Christian Anderson award in 1970 and a Laura Ingalls Wilder medal in 1983. ABC News also points out President Bill Clinton's awarding Sendak with a National Medal of the Arts in 1996.
But those accolades hold little weight compared to the overwhelming impact he had on children with his work. Sendak also penned "Chicken Soup With Rice," One Was Johnny," "Pierre," "Outside Over There" and "Brundibar," offering his illustration genius to Else Holmelund Minarik's "Little Bear" series and George McDonald's "The Little Princess."
Users on Twitter reacted to the news early this morning.
Sendak's most recent book, "Bumble-Ardy," was published in September 2011. The New York Times reports a picture book will be published posthumously next February—"My Brother's Book," a long-form poem written and illustrated in memory of his late brother, Jack.
The Times' write-up of Sendak's life and career paint the picture of a depressing childhood channeled into his creative endeavors.
From the Times:
His lifelong melancholia showed in his work, in picture books like “We Are All in the Dumps With Jack and Guy” (HarperCollins, 1993), a parable about homeless children in the age of AIDS. It showed in his habits. He could be dyspeptic and solitary, working in his white clapboard home in the deep Connecticut countryside with only Mozart, Melville, Mickey Mouse and his dogs for company.
It showed in his everyday interactions with people, especially those blind to the seriousness of his enterprise. “A woman came up to me the other day and said, ‘You’re the kiddie-book man!’ ” Mr. Sendak told Vanity Fair last year.“I wanted to kill her.”
But Mr. Sendak could also be warm and forthright, if not quite gregarious. He was a man of ardent enthusiasms — for music, art, literature, argument and the essential rightness of children’s perceptions of the world around them. He was also a mentor to a generation of younger writers and illustrators for children, several of whom, including Arthur Yorinks, Richard Egielski and Paul O. Zelinsky, went on to prominent careers of their own.
Earlier this year, Sendak stopped by Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" for Grim Colberty Tales, which Entertainment Weekly called "one of the most unflinchingly honest and painfully funny interviews in the shows history." Fans still talk about the insights Sendak bestowed on Colbert, whose own children's book, "I am a Pole (And So Can You!)" was published Tuesday. See the January interview here.
Sendak is not survived by any immediate family, and his partner of around 50 years, a psychiatrist named Eugene Glynn, passed in 2007.