Beloved children's book author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak, died early this morning. He was 83.
Best known for his book, Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak enjoyed being a children's author. In an article for the L. A. Times, he was quoted as saying, "...I write books that seem more suitable for children, and that's OK with me. They are a better audience and tougher critics. Kids tell you what they think, not what they think they should think."
Sendak's work has been influential in guiding many children into the love of reading. His works didn't just depict good little children, but children as they really are; mischievous and creative. His illustrations sparked the imagination, and gave readers characters to love well into adulthood.
Sendak's views that childhood wasn't all "sweetness and light" were influenced by his own childhood, which he described as a "terrible situation." His extended family all died in the Holocaust, which exposed Sendak at an early age to death and the concept of mortality. He said that his childhood was spent, "... thinking about the kids over there (in Europe). My burden is living for those who didn't."
Sendak was not just well loved as the author of books such as, Chicken Soup with Rice, Pierre (A Cautionary Tale), and In the Night Kitchen. He was also a prodigious illustrator of children's books, such as the Little Bear series and The Big Book for Peace. Sendak also served as a producer for various animated series, including "Little Bear."