Erik Haugaard was born in Denmark and has traveled extensively in the United States, Italy, Spain, and Japan. Called "a writer gifted in the art of the storyteller" by the BOSTON GLOBE, he is internationally known for his accomplishments as aplaywright, poet, and translator. He has won critical acclaim for his books for young readers, including A BOY'S WILL, THE UNTOLD TALE, and CROMWELL'S BOY.
The fairy tales for which Andersen is now famous comprise only a small part of his lifework. Born in Odense, the son of a poor shoemaker, Andersen worked in a factory after his father's death. However, he soon displayed a talent for poetry and went to Copenhagen to pursue other outlets. Andersen's first collection of poems was published in 1830 and a second in 1831. Andersen complained bitterly about the lack of encouragement for his first volume of stories, Fairy Tales, Told for Children (1835). In 1843, he began the series called New Adventures, the title no longer addressing itself exclusively to children. His contemporaries received his novels and travel books enthusiastically. In his old age, Andersen said, "My fairy tales are written as much for adults as for children. Children understand only the trimmings, and not until they mature will they see and comprehend the whole." During his lifetime his talent was more esteemed more generally in other countries than in his native Denmark. Charles Dickens, for example, called the Dane "a great writer." Andersen died in Copenhagen in 1875 after a long battle with cancer.
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.