“Where the Wild Things Are” author Maurice Sendak dies at 83

Sendak

(CNN) — Maurice Sendak, author of the classic children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are,” has died, a spokeswoman for HarperCollins Publishers said Tuesday. He was 83.

Sendak illustrated nearly 100 books during a 60-year career, winning dozens of accolades as he endeared himself to generations of children reared on his fanciful stories. One critic called him “the Picasso of children’s literature.” Former President Bill Clinton called him the “king of dreams.”

Born in Brooklyn the son of Polish immigrants, Sendak grew up to take a few night classes but largely taught himself as an artist.

He is best known for his book, “Where the Wild Things Are.” It tells the story of a boy named Max, who dresses in a white wolf costume and escapes his life at home by sailing to a remote land, where he discovers wild things who roar their terrible roars and gnash their terrible teeth.

The book stirred controversy when it was first published in 1963. Many librarians initially feared it would disturb children, although it has become a timeless classic well-stocked in bookstores and libraries around the world.

“Where the Wild Things Are” won the Caldecott Medal in 1964, considered the most prestigious award for illustrated children’s books.

The book was adapted into a feature-length film in 2009.

Sendak also wrote “In the Night Kitchen,” “Chicken Soup with Rice,” and “Alligators All Around,” among many others.

He won the National Medal of Arts, the National Book Award, the Hans Christian Andersen Medal and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, according to Harper Collins Publishers.

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