Maurice Sendak

Children's book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, best known for Where the Wild Things Are, has died, The New York Times reports. He was 83.

Sendak died Tuesday in Danbury, Conn., from complications following a recent stroke, his longtime editor told the newspaper.

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Sendak's books transformed the children's genre by featuring somewhat obnoxious characters and dark plots that included kidnapping and demons.

Born in Brooklyn, Sendak was a self-taught illustrator. His first professional illustrations were published in the 1947 physics textbook Atomics for the Millions. The following year, he began building window displays for F.A.O. Schwarz. Through that job, Sendak met children's book editor Ursula Nordstrom, which led to his first children's book commission, The Wonderful Farm by Marcel Aymé, published in 1951. Sendak went on to illustrate other books and wrote his first in 1956 called Kenny's Window.

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In 1963, his most famous book, Where the Wild Things Are, was published. The book, which Sendak wrote and illustrated, was awarded the highly coveted Caldecott Medal by the American Library Association in 1964. Spike Jonze adapted to the book into a film in 2009; to date the movie has grossed more than $100 million worldwide. 

Other titles include In the Night Kitchen and Outside Over There, which formed a trilogy with Where the Wild Things Are, The Sign on Rosie's Door, Alligators All Around, Chicken Soup With Rice, One Was Johnny and Pierre.

In September, Sendak published his first picture book, Bumble-Ardy, in more than 30 years. A posthumous book, My Brother's Book — inspired by his late brother Jack — is slated to be published next February.

Sendak made his last public appearance on The Colbert Report in January, during which he memorably entertained Stephen Colbert with his trademark biting wit and curmudgeonly demeanor. When Colbert asked why he wrote for children, Sendak replied: "I don't write for children. I write, and somebody says, 'That's for children'... I like them as few and far between as I do adults."

Sendak's partner of over 50 years, Eugene Glynn, died in 2007. They had no children.

Watch Sendak's Colbert Report appearance below. What are your favorite books of his?