Else Holmelund Minarik was born in Denmark on September 13, 1920. When she was four years old, she immigrated to the United States with her family. She received a B.A. from Queens College in 1942. She worked as reporter for the Daily Sentinel before becoming a first grade teacher and recognized the need for children's books with simple words. Her first book, Little Bear, was published in 1957 with illustrations by Maurice Sendak. She wrote over 40 children's books during her lifetime including No Fighting, No Biting!, Little Bear's Visit, The Little Giant Girl and the Elf Boy, A Kiss for Little Bear, Percy and the Five Houses, and Little Bear and the Marco Polo. She died of complications from a recent heart attack on July 12, 2012 at the age of 91.
Maurice Sendak was born on June 10, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York. While in high school, he worked part time as an illustrator for All-American Comics adapting the Mutt and Jeff newspaper comic strip to a comic book format. His first professional illustrations were for a physics textbook, Atomics for the Millions, published in 1947. He later worked as a window-display director for F.A.O. Schwartz while attending night school at the Art Students League. In 1950, he illustrated his first children's book The Wonderful Farm by Marcel Aymï¿½. He wrote his first children's book Kenny's Window in 1956 and went on to become a prolific author-illustrator. His works include Chicken Soup with Rice; In the Night Kitchen; Outside Over There; Higglety Pigglety Pop; The Sign on Rosie's Door; We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy; Brundibar; Bumble Ardy; and My Brother's Book. He received numerous awards including the Caldecott medal for Where The Wild Things Are in 1964, the Hans Christian Andersen International Medal in 1970, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and the National Medal of Arts in 1996. Characters from two of his books were the basis of an animated television special, Really Rosie, which first aired in 1975. He was also the set designer and lyricist for a subsequent off-Broadway musical of the same title. He was the lyricist, as well as the set and costume designer, for the original production of an opera based on Where The Wild Things Are in 1980. In addition, he has designed sets and costumes for performances of operas by Mozart, Prokofiev, and other classical composers. He died due to complications from a recent stroke on May 8, 2012 at the age of 83.