Maurice Sendak, the man who revolutionized children’s books dies at 83

But “The wild things” are still out there and Maurice Sendaks gift to children all over the world, the opportunity to explore their wild side and return home safely will remain forever. His tales full of flights of imagination and fury are so vivid and full of the angst and wonder of childhood where anything is possible that they have carved a spot of themselves in the hearts of millions of parents and children.

Mr. Sendak passed away in Danbury Connecticut, on Tuesday, four days after he suffered a stroke. His passing will be mourned by three generations brought up on his imaginative storytelling and wonderful illustrations. Mr. Sendak began his career as an illustrator, gifting the world his distinctive art through the many books he illustrated, he also went on to write and illustrate 20 books.

Most of his books including “Where the wild things are”, did not look at life through rose tinted glasses, they were path breaking books filled with powerful pictures of monsters with gleaming yellow eyes, and children that threw tantrums, pouted and disobeyed and yelled that they did not care! Even when they really did, and were testing to see how much their parents cared back. His books were controversial when they came out in the 1960’s facing criticism from people like child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, who thought that these books were too scary for kids.

But his imaginative world struck a chord with children and parents alike, becoming favorite reading even though they were not soothing stories. “Where the wild things are.” ended up winning the 1964 Caldecott Medal for “the most distinguished American picture book for children’’. His books showed an immense empathy for the frustrations and lack of control inherent in being a child. His provocative stories allowed parents and children to engage in a dialogue about childhood anxiety, the daily troubles of being a child or a parent. It made it possible to discuss monsters, fight them and return home to a hot meal. He led the way for many other authors to write realistic and gripping stories for children that were unpredictable, showing instinctive respect for the imagination and intelligence of their young audience.

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