Maurice Sendak (born June 10, 1928) is an artist and creator of children's literature who is best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963.
A sickly child, Sendak decided to become an illustrator for children after he was influenced by Walt Disney's film Fantasia at the age of twelve. His illustrations were first published in a 1947 textbook entitled Atomics for the Millions, and he spent the 1950s making a name for himself as a lavish artist for children's books.
He found international acclaim with Where the Wild Things Are, though the book's portrayals of fanged monsters concerned parents when it was first released. Sendak's attractions to the dark, forbidden, nightmarish aspects of children's fantasy has made him a subject of controversy in some areas. His influential and popular 1970 book In the Night Kitchen has regularly been subjected to censorship for presenting pictures of a young boy innocently prancing naked through the story; the book has been banned in various areas, and there is a rumour that in other places it has been re-touched and edited to include "diapers" on the illustrations of its young hero. This may, however, be an urban legend. (In the Night Kitchen regularly appears on the American Library Association's list of "frequently challenged and banned books," including the "Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2004." )
Sendak produced an animated TV production based on his work entitled Really Rosie, featuring Carole King, which was broadcast in 1975 and is available on video (usually as part of video compilations of his work). A record and later a CD of the songs were also produced. He adapted Where the Wild Things Are into a stage production in 1979, and in 1983 he designed an award-winning stage production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker for the Pacific Northwest Ballet.
He illustrated Else Holmelund Minarik's Little Bear series of books, which were also made into a successful TV series.
Where the Wild Things Are won the 1964 Caldecott Medal. In 1970 he won the Hans Christian Andersen Award for children's book illustration, and in 2003 he shared the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award with Christine NÃ¶stlinger, the first time it was awarded.