Maurice Bernard Sendak, American illustrator and writer, Died at 83

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Dead, Maurice Bernard Sendak on May 8, 2012, he was an American illustrator and writer of children’s books.

He became widely known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, first published in 1963.

Born to Jewish-Polish parents, his childhood was affected by the death of many of his family members during the Holocaust.

Born in New York City on June 10, 1928 in the borough of Brooklyn to Polish Jewish immigrant parents named Sadie (née Schindler) and Philip Sendak, a dressmaker, Sendak described his childhood as a “terrible situation” due to the death of members of his extended family during the Holocaust which exposed him at a young age to the concept of mortality.

His love of books began when, as a child, he developed health problems and was confined to his bed.

He decided to become an illustrator after watching Walt Disney’s film Fantasia at the age of twelve.

One of his first professional commissions was to create window displays for the toy store F.A.O. Schwarz.

His illustrations were first published in 1947 in a textbook titled Atomics for the Millions by Dr. Maxwell Leigh Eidinoff.

His 1981 book Outside Over There is the story of a girl, Ida, and her sibling jealousy and responsibility.

Her father is away and so Ida is left to watch her baby sister, much to her dismay.

Her sister is kidnapped by goblins and Ida must go off on a magical adventure to rescue her.

At first, she is not really eager to get her sister and nearly passes her sister right by when she becomes absorbed in the magic of the quest.

In the end, she rescues her baby sister, destroys the goblins, and returns home committed to caring for her sister until her father returns home.

Sendak produced an animated television production based on his work titled Really Rosie, featuring the voice of Carole King, which was broadcast in 1975 and is available on video (usually as part of video compilations of his work).

An album of the songs was also produced. He contributed the opening segment to Simple Gifts, a Christmas collection of six animated shorts shown on PBS TV in 1977 and later issued on VHS in 1993.

He adapted his book Where the Wild Things Are for the stage in 1979. Additionally, he designed sets for many operas and ballets, including the award-winning (1983) Pacific Northwest Ballet production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Houston Grand Opera’s productions of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (1981) and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel (1997), Los Angeles County Music Center’s 1990 production of Mozart’s Idomeneo, and the New York City

Opera’s 1981 production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.

He was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 1996 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington, DC. His most famous book, “Where the Wild Things Are,” was originally going to be titled “Where the Wild Horses Are.”

He gave that up when he discovered that he couldn’t draw horses.

In 2003, he received the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an international prize for children’s literature established by the Swedish government.

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