Maurice Sendak Dead at 83; Author Championed Children’s Complexity

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May 8 2012 2:47 PM

Maurice Sendak Dead at 83; Author Championed Children’s Complexity

Author Maurice Sendak, who wrote and illustrated numerous children's books including Where the Wild Things Are, Chicken Soup with Rice, and In the Night Kitchen, has died of complications from a recent stroke at the age of 83.

Known and loved for introducing darker and deeper themes to contemporary children’s literature, Sendak’s classic books offered fantastical and even dangerous journeys for his subjects. In 2011 he released Bumble-Ardy, the first book in 30 years for which he both wrote the story and drew illustrations. It spent five weeks on the New York Times children's best-seller list.

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Sendak appeared earlier this year on The Colbert Report, hilariously offering his opinion on everything from the “idiocy” of Newt Gingrich to respecting the depth of kids.

“There is something in this country that is so opposed to understanding the complexity of children,” said Sendak. “It’s quite amazing.”

Sendak obviously never failed to understand that complexity, and for that he will surely be missed.

Video produced by Jim Festante.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.

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