Gay children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak died on Tuesday morning at the age of 83 after suffering a stroke four days earlier.
Sendak was best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963 which won him the American Library Association’s 1964 Caldecott Medal and has continued to be a favourite for children as well as their parents.
Sendak was born on June 10, 1928 in Brooklyn when his father worked in the garment district of Manhattan. He grew up as a lower class, Jewish, gay man who lived through the Depression, World War II and the Holocaust in which many of his relatives who were still living in Europe perished.
When Sendak was 20 he received his first commission into the literary while employed in a job building window displays during which which he met Ursula Nordstrom, the editor of children’s books with Harper & Row.
One of Sendak's most notable early works was as the illustrator for the Little Bear series of children's books by Else Holmelund Minarik which would eventually sell over six million copies.
From there the decades of success for Sendak’s work included the stage show and musical productions of his books including the opera adaptation of his book Higglety Pigglety Pop!
In 2009, Where the Wild Things Are was released as a feature film consisting of part live action and part animation.
In a 2008 interview with The New York Times, Sendak lamented how he never opened up about his sexuality to his parents or had ever introduced his partner for 50 years, psychiatrist Eugene Glynn, who died from cancer in 2007.
“All I wanted was to be straight so my parents could be happy,” he said. “They never, never, never knew.”
Giant of children's literature, author Maurice #Sendak , who only publicly came out as #gay in 2008, has died aged 83: http://t.co/6WhRYyr2
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