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The world of children’s literature lost an icon today. Maurice Sendak passed away at the age of 83.

Sendak is best know for his 1963 book Where the Wild Things Are, but was also the author of many other children’s books, and illustrator

Maurice Sendak

Joyce Dopkeen/New York Times

of countless more. He was the winner of several awards for his books, including the Caldecott Medal and the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Sendak’s works have faced criticism for being too dark, and in some instances have even been banned in schools and libraries. As I look back at my childhood, I don’t remember Sendak’s books as being dark. I wasn’t scared or disturbed by them. What I remember was their honesty. I could relate to Max and his wild rumpus. I understood Mickey from In the Night Kitchen. Maurice Sendak’s books weren’t scary to me; they were real. I understood. I could relate. I think all kids can. That’s why Sendak’s books have been popular for so many years.

Sendak has passed, but he will live forever through the beautiful books he wrote. I haven’t yet read Where the Wild Things Are to my boys, but I think now is the perfect time for a wild rumpus.

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