Western Brooklyn

Bensonhurst Born Writer And Illustrator Maurice Sendak Dies

Source: Harper Collins

Maurice Sendak, 83 passed away this morning from complications due to a stroke. He leaves behind a legacy of wildly imaginative children’s stories, including “Where the Wild Things Are” and “In the Night Kitchen.”

For more than forty years, Sendak’s work challenged the established notions of what children’s literature should be. His work was always darker and more chaotic.

Sendak himself had a dark childhood. Many members of his extended family died in the Holocaust and he was a sickly child who spent most of his time bedridden.

Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz wrote of Sendak’s passing: “…Sendak grew up in Bensonhurst and graduated Lafayette High School before going on to create wildly popular works—often dark and with an edge—like Where the Wild Things Are, which won him the prestigious Caldecott Medal. Even before his passing, the Brooklyn Book Festival had planned to honor Mr. Sendak with a special bookmark given to attendees at this year’s festival on September 23, a fitting tribute from Brooklyn—the Creative Capital of New York City and home to more writers per square inch than anywhere—to one of its native sons. On behalf of literary lovers throughout Brooklyn and beyond, I extend our thoughts and prayers to Maurice Sendak’s family, friends and colleagues.”

His sometimes twisted vision of children’s bedtime stories influenced the work of contemporary artists like “Being John Malkovich” and “Where the Wild Things Are,” film director Spike Jonze.

In February “My Brother’s Book,” Sendak’s last work inspired by his love for his late brother, will be published.

Readers, what is your favorite Maurice Sendak book?

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  1. I met Maurice about 15 years ago when I was working at Harper Collins. He was so nice and funny. A really caring man. When he found out I had 2 kids he insisted on signing copies of Where the Wild Things Are for both of them.

    He had a wicked sense of humor, as you probably suspect.

  2. Of all the books read to me as a child, Where the Wild Things Are is the only one I remember in vivid detail. I loved the monsters and the illustrations and the whole shebang. Can’t recall how many times I read it, but I read it often.

    RIP Maurice. Thanks for the gifts you’ve given the world.

  3. My mother went to high school with Maurice at Lafayette High School.

    Class of January 1947. They where good friends, as she was Ruth Luberoff. He did a drawing for her on her story for the yearbook. Not your typical Maurice Sendak drawing.

    Mike Marmer
    Germantown, MD

  4. Accordingn to the Washington Post story on Mr.Sendak, Where The Wild Things Are was to be Where The Horses Are. Mr. Sendak could not draw horses and the rest is history.

    Mike Marmer
    Germantown, MD