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Maurice Sendak, Author Of 'Where The Wild Things Are', Dies

Maurice Sendak stands with a character from his book "Where the Wild Things Are," in 2002.
Spencer Platt
Getty Images
Maurice Sendak stands with a character from his book "Where the Wild Things Are," in 2002.

Award-winning children's author and illustrator Maurice Sendak has died at 83. He shot to fame in 1963 with his picture book 'Where The Wild Things Are'. He published several more books, including 'In The Night Kitchen', 'Outside Over There' and most recently, 'Bumble-Ardy'.

Family friend Lynn Ceprio confirmed his death. The New York Times reports his cause of death was complications from a stroke he'd recently suffered.

Sendak's signature book won the 1964 Caldecott Medal for children's literature and is beloved for its character Max, who shouts, "Let The Wild Rumpus Start!" Sendak won additional writing and illustration awards, according to publisher Harper-Collins.

But as Sendak was controversial. 'Wild Things' was novel: it put children in a scary place with roaring and claws and gnashing of teeth. In 2006, Sendak told NPR: "The idea of an American children's book where the child is not perfectly safe was something that was new. I didn't know it was new, I didn't set out to break any new ideas. I was just doing what was only in my head."

NPR featured 'Where The Wild Things Are' in 2004 on an All Things Considered segment dedicated to 'Kids Books With Lessons For Life'.

A feature film based on the best-selling book was produced in 2009, written and directed by Spike Jonze, and featuring Forest Whitaker and Catherine O'Hara.

Sendak was wildly funny to the end. He appeared for a double interview last January on the 'Colbert Report", which you can find here and here. Warning: the language is graphic and incisive.

If you want more, Fresh Air says its Sendak interviews were among its most popular; the show will devote a full hour to him today, including a conversation that dates back to 1986.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Korva Coleman is a newscaster for NPR.

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