Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein

Biography of Shel Silverstein

Sheldon Allan Silverstein (September 25, 1930 - May 10, 1999) was the author of The Giving Tree and many other books of poetry and prose. He also wrote songs, drew cartoons, played the guitar, and loved to have a good time. He was also an accomplished playwright. Translated into 20 languages, his books have sold over 20 million copies. Silverstein claimed to have never studied the poetry of others, his style was unique and derived from his personality: eccentric, loving, tough and hilarious.

Silverstein passed away on May 10, 1999 from a heart attack, but that wasn't the end of his fun and unique poetry. Runny Babbit (2005) is a poetry collection that was published after his death. Every Thing On It followed in 2011. The poems used in these books were ones that had been completed by Shel Silverstein before his death.

Interesting Facts about Shel Silverstein:

  1. He had one daughter, Shoshanna Jordan Hastings, who only lived to the age of eleven.
  2. He had a hard time finding a publisher for The Giving Tree, but now it has sold more than 5 million copies.
  3. A Light in the Attic (1981) was the first children’s book to make it onto the New York Times bestseller list, and it remained there for 182 weeks (that’s three and a half years!).
  4. This same book was banned by some schools because contesters claimed it encouraged bad behavior in children and praised Satan and cannibalism.
  5. He won a Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album for Where the Sidewalk Ends. It was “recited, sung and shouted” by him.
  6. Silverstein used many invented characters in his poetry.
  7. He sold hotdogs at Chicago ballparks.

Shel Silverstein Video

1973: A film of the short story "The Giving Tree" narrated by Shel Silverstein. The Giving Tree is a moving and meaningful tale about a relationship between a tree and a young boy.


Poems by Shel Silverstein

Sick By Shel Silverstein

in Famous Children Poems


“I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.

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That is a cute poem! Sounds just like the silliness children try to pull. My children would try, then they would remember if they were sick they had to stay in bed all day, no television, no...

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Paul Bunyan By Shel Silverstein

in Famous Children Poems

Paul Bunyan

He rode through the woods on a big blue ox,
He had fists as hard as choppin' blocks,
Five hundred pounds and nine feet tall...that's Paul.

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This poem is easily identifiable as a classic, and it contains facts and emotions we all share throughout life at some time or other. Great reading and a great share. Well worth real...

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Won't You? A Funny Valentine's Day Poem For Kids By Shel Silverstein

in Famous Children Poems

Won't You?

Barbara's eyes are blue as azure,
But she is in love with Freddy.
Karen's sweet, but Harry has her.
Gentle Jane is going steady.

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Dirty Face By Shel Silverstein

in Famous Children Poems

Dirty Face

Where did you get such a dirty face,
My darling dirty-faced child?
I got it from crawling along in the dirt
And biting two buttons off Jeremy's shirt.

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A Boy Named Sue By Shel Silverstein

in Famous Funny Poems

A Boy Named Sue

Well, my daddy left home when I was three,
and he didn't leave much to Ma and me,
just this old guitar and a bottle of booze.
Now I don't blame him because he run and hid,...

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