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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Maurice Sendak, 83, Died Today

By Jesse Lent
Special to New York
BROOKLYN — Maurice Sendak, the Brooklyn author who created the beloved children's book "Where the Wild Things Are," died Tuesday at the age of 83.
Through a combination of dreamlike prose and vivid illustration, Sendak stirred the imaginations of generations of children through "Wild Things," published in 1963, and 1970's "In the Night Kitchen."
He died of complications following a recent stroke, his editor, Michael di Capua, told the New York Times.
Sendak spoke to National Public Radio in 2006 about his innovative approach to writing children's books.
"The idea of an American children's book where the child is not perfectly safe was something that was new," he said.

"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."
In 2009, a film adaptation of "Where the Wild Things Are," directed by Spike Jonze, was released by Warner Brothers. Although the film received some favorable reviews, several critics attacked it for being too dark and not kid-friendly enough.
In a 2010 interview with the website Vulture, Spike Jonze argued that it was exactly the kind of movie Sendak wanted to make.
"He told me he wanted me to make it as a personal movie, the way the book was personal to him," Jonze said.
"He didn't want me to make a movie that panders to children. He would rather there not be a movie made if it was going to be some sort of commercial project that would have made him uncomfortable."
Sendak wrote and illustrated more than a dozen books over the course of his lifetime and illustrated over 60 more.
In 1996, President Bill Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts. He was also a recipient of the Caldecott Medal, Hans Christian Andersen Award for children's book illustration and the National Book Award.
He lived in Danbury, Conn., where he was at the time of death.
According to published reports, he has no next of kin.

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