Children's author and master illustrator Maurice Sendak (1928–2012) was born on this day in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Eastern European Jewish immigrants.
A sickly child who spent many hours indoors, he found a passion for books and drawing at a young age, creating a rich, imaginary world.
Influenced by Walt Disney and William Blake, in 1948, Sendak became a window designer at "the ultimate toy store," F.A.O. Schwarz. He illustrated the children's books The Wonderful Farm (1951) and A Hole Is to Dig (1952).
"You cannot write for children," he explained. "They’re much too complicated. You can only write books that are of interest to them." Where the Wild Things Are (1963) told the tale of young, mischievous Max who was sent to bed without supper, sailed "though night and day," and became "king of all wild things."
"I never wrote a book where I taught a lesson," he said.
With In the Night Kitchen (1970), another fantastic dream world of young Mickey falling into the batter with his clothes on, Sendak again created a world of remarkable vision, fantasy, and imagination.
Controversial because of his dark creations, Sendak captured, with passion, the heart of children and has dedicated his life to celebrating their voice. The gifted artist also created opera and ballet costume design.
The inventive writer said, "These are difficult times for children. Children have to be brave to survive what the world does to them. And this world is scrungier and rougher and dangerouser than it ever was before."
"Let the wild rumpus start..."