Author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, best known for his Caldecott Medal winning book, Where the Wild Things Are, has passed away.
We are blessed he has left us with such a heart-warming legacy and that his wonderful work lives on.
Sendak died on May 8, 2012, at age 83, in Danbury, Connecticut, at Danbury Hospital, from complications of a stroke, less than a month before his 84th birthday. His remains were cremated.
The New York Times obituary called Sendak “the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century.” Author Neil Gaiman remarked, “He was unique, grumpy, brilliant, gay, wise, magical and made the world better by creating art in it.” Author R. L. Stine called Sendak’s death “a sad day in children’s books and for the world.” “We are all honored to have been briefly invited into his world,” remarked comedian Stephen Colbert.
above: Award winning author Maurice Sendak
Awards and honors (courtesy of wikipedia):
Internationally, Sendak received the third biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration in 1970, recognizing his “lasting contribution to children’s literature”.
He received one of two inaugural Astrid Lindgren Memorial Awards in 2003, recognizing his career contribution to “children’s and young adult literature in the broadest sense”. The citation called him “the modern picture-book’s portal figure” and the presentation credited Where the Wild Things Are with “all at once [revolutionizing] the entire picture-book narrative … thematically, aesthetically, and psychologically.”
In the U.S. he received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal from the professional children’s librarians in 1983, recognizing his “substantial and lasting contributions to children’s literature”. At the time it was awarded every three years. Only Sendak and the writer Katherine Paterson have won all three of these premier awards.
• Caldecott Medal from the ALA as illustrator of “the most distinguished American picture book for children”, Where the Wild Things Are, 1964 (Sendak was also one of the Caldecott runners-up seven times from 1954 to 1982, more than any other illustrator, although some have won multiple Medals)
• Hans Christian Andersen Award for children’s book illustration, 1970
• National Book Award in category Picture Books for Outside Over There, 1982
• Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for American children’s literature, 1983
• National Medal of Arts, 1996
• Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children’s literature, 2003
• Honorary doctorate from Goucher College, 2004
• Inducted into the New York Writers Hall of Fame in 2013.
Sendak was honored in North Hollywood, California, where an elementary school was named after him. He received an honorary doctorate from Princeton University in 1984.
On June 10, 2013 Google featured an interactive doodle for Sendak’s 85th birthday where visitors could click on the video-go triangle to see an animated movie-ette of Max and Sendak’s other main characters.
The Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a repository for his work thanks to shared literary and collecting interests.