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Source: Harper Collins

Maurice Sendak, 83 passed away this morning from complications due to a stroke. He leaves behind a legacy of wildly imaginative children’s stories, including “Where the Wild Things Are” and “In the Night Kitchen.”

For more than forty years, Sendak’s work challenged the established notions of what children’s literature should be. His work was always darker and more chaotic.

Sendak himself had a dark childhood. Many members of his extended family died in the Holocaust and he was a sickly child who spent most of his time bedridden.

Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz wrote of Sendak’s passing: “…Sendak grew up in Bensonhurst and graduated Lafayette High School before going on to create wildly popular works—often dark and with an edge—like Where the Wild Things Are, which won him the prestigious Caldecott Medal. Even before his passing, the Brooklyn Book Festival had planned to honor Mr. Sendak with a special bookmark given to attendees at this year’s festival on September 23, a fitting tribute from Brooklyn—the Creative Capital of New York City and home to more writers per square inch than anywhere—to one of its native sons. On behalf of literary lovers throughout Brooklyn and beyond, I extend our thoughts and prayers to Maurice Sendak’s family, friends and colleagues.”

His sometimes twisted vision of children’s bedtime stories influenced the work of contemporary artists like “Being John Malkovich” and “Where the Wild Things Are,” film director Spike Jonze.

In February “My Brother’s Book,” Sendak’s last work inspired by his love for his late brother, will be published.

Readers, what is your favorite Maurice Sendak book?

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