Maurice Sendak, author of favorites such as Chicken Soup with Rice and Where the Wild Things Are has passed away at the age of 83.
This is a serious loss in the world of children's literature, and to everyone who loved to read as a child.
I remember my Mom reading Where the Wild Things Are to me when I was very young. The story caught my interest, but I was absolutely captivated by the illustrations Sendak had created. That night I learned that an illustrator made the pictures in the books I loved so much. It was that day that I decided someday to be an illustrator. This man changed my entire professional future, and helped me discover my greatest passion.
I know we all have stories about his work. I know all of us have loved or hated it, known it by heart or read it once or twice. Even if you haven't read it (and if you say that, you're lying) then you've been affected by it. Guaranteed. He was the most influential and important illustrator of the last century, and I can't even begin to measure what we've lost.
His final book, to be posthumously published, is set to come out in February of 2013. I know I'll be buying a copy. And, working at a library, I never buy books!
We'll miss you, Maurice, you cranky, reclusive, odd, magical man.