NEW YORK (AP) -- Maurice Sendak didn't think of himself as a children's author, but as a writer who told the truth about childhood.
"I like interesting people and kids are really interesting people," he explained to The Associated Press last fall. "And if you didn't paint them in little blue, pink and yellow, it's even more interesting."
Sendak, who died early Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. at age 83, four days after suffering a stroke, revolutionized children's books and how we think about childhood simply by leaving in what so many writers before had excluded. His kids misbehaved and didn't regret it and in their dreams and nightmares fled to the most unimaginable places. Monstrous creatures were devised from his studio, but no more frightening than the grownups in his stories or the cloud of the Holocaust that darkened his every page.
Rarely was a man so uninterested in being loved so adored. His books sold millions of copies and his most curmudgeonly persona became as much a part of his legend as Where the Wild Things Are, his signature book, and a hit movie in 2009. Communities attempted to ban his work, but he also had friends in the most powerful places. President Bill Clinton awarded Sendak a National Medal of the Arts in 1996 and in 2009 President Obama read Where the Wild Things Are for the Easter Egg Roll.
Not to make light of it, but Spike Jonze has gotta be bumming right now, what with MCA, and now this.