Maurice Sendak was born in New York in 1928 as the third child of Polish Jewish immigrants. At the time, no one could have guessed that the frequently ailing boy would later change his view of children's books from the bottom up. And it was to be a long way until then: Little Maurice was often ill and often stayed home. The adventure books that his sister brought him from the library offered him a way out into more exciting worlds. He also drew a lot. He made his first picture book when he was six years old and gave it to his older brother.
The path mapped out early
Maurice Sendak did not like the school, he did not like going there. But even as a schoolboy, he began illustrating books. After graduating, he worked as a decorator in New York's largest toy store, where he seriously studied children's books, studying them carefully and looking at the illustrations carefully. To learn more in the evenings, he attended the Art Students League of New York after work. Finally, in 1950, a children's book editor discovered the young illustrator and began promoting him.
The Wild Things were too wild
In 1963, the children's book author created the "Wild Things", or the Wild Guys. The boy Max visits them when he is locked in his room after a freak-out. They are wild and terrible creatures, but Max acts even wilder and is made their leader. Finally he returns home and finds his warm dinner.
Critics and educators alike were horrified - what was the point of all this childish rage, this savagery? But when the books were tirelessly borrowed over and over again and bought in large numbers, a change in thinking set in. It slowly became clear that children could not always be just good-humoured, charming and sweet. The new realism of the children's book author finally caught on, and by the time of his death in 2012, Maurice Sendak had won all the major children's book prizes that exist.