Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein

About 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.

References

    Poems by Shel Silverstein

  • Underface

    in Famous Children Poems

    Picture

    Underneath my outside face
    There's a face that none can see.
    A little less smiley,
    A little less sure,

    Read Complete Poem

    • Stories 1
    • Shares 165
    • Favorited 0
    • Votes 31
    • Rating 3.97
    Featured Shared Story

    I have always been what others want me to be. I'm sick of it, but I cannot escape it.

  • Lester

    in Famous Children Poems

    Lester was given a magic wish
    By the goblin who lives in the banyan tree,
    And with his wish he wished for two more wishes-
    So now instead of just one wish, he cleverly had three.

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    • Stories 0
    • Shares 365
    • Favorited 1
    • Votes 42
    • Rating 4.10
  • Listen To The MUSTN'TS

    in Famous Children Poems

    Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
    Listen to the DON'TS
    Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
    The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT'S

    Read Complete Poem

    • Stories 0
    • Shares 1468
    • Favorited 4
    • Votes 135
    • Rating 4.10
    • Poem of the Day
  • Hug O' War

    in Famous Friendship Poems

    I will not play at tug o' war.
    I'd rather play at hug o' war,
    Where everyone hugs
    Instead of tugs,

    Read Complete Poem

    • Stories 0
    • Shares 1599
    • Favorited 6
    • Votes 120
    • Rating 4.35
    • Poem of the Day
  • Snowball

    in Famous Children Poems

    I made myself a snowball
    As perfect as could be.
    I thought I'd keep it as a pet
    And let it sleep with me.

    Read Complete Poem

    • Stories 2
    • Shares 9975
    • Favorited 10
    • Votes 920
    • Rating 4.34
    • Poem of the Day
    Featured Shared Story

    I love the humor, innocence and whimsy of this poem. But there's more here than meets the eye. If you look a bit deeper, you can see how we sometimes don't properly interpret our experiences,...

    Read complete story

  • View All Poems by Shel Silverstein

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