Maurice Sendak

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	Maurice Sendak may be the best-known children's author / illustrator in the world today. His artwork has become somewhat of an American icon; some even became the basis of an advertising campaign for Bell Atlantic. This extremely gifted genius was actually cultivating within Sendak since his childhood, and many different memories from his youth influenced the masterpieces he has created.

	Born in Brooklyn on June 10th (coincidently, my birthday) 1928, Sendak has illustrated over 70 books and written at least 15 himself. He has also derived animated films for many of his stories, as well as stage productions of Where The Wild Things Are and Really Rosie. Currently, he illustrates the animated series Little Bear on Nickelodeon. Sendak grew up a sickly child who was not allowed to go outside often. Therefore, being the youngest child in a family of three, he was left alone with his imagination. He enjoyed drawing and reading from an early age, but was often dissatisfied with the children books that were available to him. He attempted to read what he called "real books" even when he was a young child; he felt it was an embarrassment even to enter the childrens' section of the library. Sendak writes the type of books he wished he had as a child; entertaining stories which are not limited by any effort to make things so simple for children that they become mundane.

	Sendak's greatest influence as a writer was his father. Phillip Sendak was a wonderfully creative storyteller who amazed Maurice and his brother and sister. "He didn't edit," remarks Maurice in an interview with Marion Long. "It's funny, because that's what I'm accused of now: being a storyteller who tells children inappropriate things." Sendak strongly believes that children are curious by nature, and so he must write stories which beckon the child to keep turning the pages. The best stories for children tell children exactly what they want to hear, with all the details. This is Sendak's goal in his stories.

	An absolutely amazing artist without any formal training, Sendak feels that his adoration for Mickey Mouse has influenced many of his illustrations. Sendak was calls Mickey Mouse one of the most dominant figures of his childhood. This "early best friend" influenced characters in his work, and many of the protagonists in the books he has written have first names beginning with the letter "M." He used Max for Where the Wild Things Are, Martin in Very Far Away, and Mickey's own name for In the Night Kitchen.
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