MAURICE SENDAK Biography - Writers


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Maurice Sendak comes from Brooklyn, New York. He was born in 1928, the youngest           
of three children (1). His parents were poor Polish immigrants who came to the           
United States before World War I. Many of the family's relatives in Poland died           
in the Holocaust during World War II. His family suffered greatly over their             
lost family members. To add to their concerns, Maurice himself was sickly as a           
child. His mother worried constantly about his health and safety. You will see           
that most of his books have a moon somewhere in the picture watching over the             
scene. The moon is his mother peaking out the window at him when he was a child           
to be sure that he was alright!(2)                                                       
He loved to have his father read aloud to him at night before bedtime. He didn't         
like school much and wasn't good at sports, but he loved to read and often asked         
his sister to get him books from the library. In an interview on his favorite             
books as a child, Maurice Sendak: A Western Canon, he had many favorites. His             
sister gave him his first book, Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper. He loved         
that book and still has it today. Other favorites were Robert Louis Stevenson's           
A Child's Garden of Verses(3). As a young adult, he liked great super-duper               
adventure stories by authors such as Herman Melville and his books, Typee and             
Moby Dick. Another favorite was Bret Harte's short story, "The Luck of Roaring           
Camp (3).                                                                                 
He began his work as an illustrator while he was still in high school. He helped         
in drawing the pictures from the comic strip, Mutt and Jeff into comic books. He         
went to art school at the Art Students' League to continue his education. He co-authored 
his very first published book, Atomics for the Millions which was published in           
1947. He was just nineteen years old! Since then he has given us many, many               
wonderful books.(4)                                                                       
Maurice Sendak is a man of many talents. He designed wooden toys with his                 
brother. He did the lyrics for an animated film for television called Really             
Rosie which is from his books, the Nutshell Library. Carol King did the music.           
He has written the words (called libretto) for an opera, Where the Wild Things           
Are, based on his classic children's book. He greatly enjoys designing sets and           
costumes for operas as well.