Maurice Sendak, the award-winning author and illustrator of children's books, has died. Sendak, most recognized for "Where The Wild Things Are", died of complications from a stroke. He was 83.

Just hearing the name "Where The Wild Things Are" sparks memories of my 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Carlson, reading the book to our class. Some of the kids in my class got scared. Most of us sat "criss cross applesauce", paying close attention as Mrs. C read through each page.

Needless to say, "Where The Wild Things Are" is among my favorite children's books. And I'm not alone. The story of a child who doesn't seem to fit in anywhere finding friends in a fantasy world of monsters stands the test of time, and will always have relevant messages.  As proof, it was made into a movie in 2009.

The book was actually met with mixed reviews when it was published in 1963, but quickly gained in popularity and in 1964 was awarded the highest U.S. honor for children's literature, the Caldecott Medal.

Although "Where The Wild Things Are" was his biggest success, Sendak wrote some 20 books in all and illustrated dozens.  His most recent, the picture book "Bumble-Ardy", was published in September, 2011.  In 1996, Congress and then-President Clinton presented Sendak with the National Medal of Arts.