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American Masters: Maurice Sendak

Maurice Bernard Sendak was an American writer and illustrator of children's literature, best known for his book "Where the Wild Things Are". Learn more about this beloved storyteller after the jump!

Maurice Sendak was born on June 10, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York to Polish Jewish immigrant parents Sadie (née Schindler) and Philip Sendak.

He was the youngest of three children, each born five years apart. His family had immigrated to the United States before World War I and he described his childhood as a “terrible situation” because of his extended family’s death in the Holocaust during World War II — exposing him to death and the concept of mortality at an early age.

Image via News Times

His love of books began at an early age. His father was a wonderful storyteller, and Maurice grew up enjoying his father’s imaginative tales. But Sendak’s love for books was also influenced by his sickliness, his hatred of school, and the war.

He knew he wanted to be an illustrator after watching Walt Disney’s film Fantasia at the age of twelve. While still attending high school, he became an illustrator for All-American Comics. Sendak subsequently worked as a window dresser for F.A.O. Schwartz, a well-known toy store in New York City.

Image via Freshness

He spent much of the 1950s illustrating children’s books written by others, like his older brother Jack who was also an author of children’s books, before beginning to write his own stories.By the time he was 34, Sendak had written and illustrated seven books and illustrated 43 others.

He is most known for both writing and illustrating his book, Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963. The book brought him international acclaim and a place among the world’s great illustrators. Initially, the graphic portrayal of the toothy wild things concerned parents, but before long it was a favorite among children everywhere, having been translated into fifteen languages and selling more than two million copies.

Image via CNN

Following the success Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak penned, In The Night Kitchen in 1970. Some of his other notable books include Ten Little Rabbits: A Counting Book with Mino the Magician (1970), Seven Little Monsters (1977), Fantasy Sketches (1981), Outside Over There (1981), Mommy? (2006) and Bumble-Ardy (2011).

Sendak died on the morning of May 8, 2012, in Danbury, Connecticut, from complications of a stroke.

All information for this article was taken from the Maurice Sendak Wikipedia article, Maurice Sendak in American Masters, and FamousAuthors.org

American Masters pays tribute to some of the best artists who have contributed award-winning works in their respective fields. Read more articles on the American Masters series.

written by geegraphy

1 comment

  1. herbert-4

    herbert-4

    Greatest author of children's books, most perceptive and empathetic!!

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam