Maurice Sendak was born on June 10, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York, to Jewish immigrant parents. A largely self-taught artist, Sendak illustrated over one hundred books during his sixty-year career.
The books he wrote as well as illustrated include Kenny’s Window, Very Far Away, The Sign on Rosie’s Door, Nutshell Library (consisting of Chicken Soup with Rice, Alligators All Around, One Was Johnny, and Pierre), Higglety Pigglety Pop!, Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy, Bumble-Ardy, My Brother’s Book, and Presto and Zesto in Limboland (co-authored by Arthur Yorinks).
He collaborated with children’s authors such as Ruth Krauss and Else Homelund Minarik and illustrated books by Herman Melville, Isaac Bashevis Singer, the Brothers Grimm, and the poet Randall Jarrell.
Sendak began a second career as a costume and stage designer in the late 1970s, designing operas by Mozart, Prokoﬁev, and Ravel among others, as well as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.
He was honored with numerous awards, including:
The 1964 Caldecott Medal for "the most distinguished American picture book for children,” Where the Wild Things Are; The international Hans Christian Andersen Award for children's book illustration, in 1970; The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, given by the American Library association in recognition of his entire body of work, in 1983; The National Medal of Arts in recognition of his contribution to the arts in America, in 1996; The first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an international prize for children's literature, in 2003. In 2013, P.S.118 in Brooklyn was renamed The Maurice Sendak Community School.
Sendak moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, in 1972, settling in the Ridgebury section of town with his partner, psychiatrist Dr. Eugene Glynn, who died in 2007. Sendak lived in Ridgefield for forty years, until his death in 2012.