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.


    Poems by Shel Silverstein

  • Listen To The MUSTN'TS

    Listen To The MUSTN'TS By Shel Silverstein

    in Famous Children Poems

    Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
    Listen to the DON'TS
    Listen to the SHOULDN'TS

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    • Stories 0
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    • Votes 34
    • Rating 3.94
  • Hug O' War

    Hug O' War By Shel Silverstein

    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,

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    • Stories 0
    • Shares 218
    • Favorited 1
    • Votes 16
    • Rating 4.12
  • Snowball

    Snowball By Shel Silverstein

    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.

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    • Stories 1
    • Shares 2304
    • Favorited 3
    • Votes 210
    • Rating 4.36
    • Poem of the Day
    Latest Shared Story

    I love Shel Silverstein. I have 4 of his books that I've bought for my kids' birthdays. I think I enjoy the poems more than my kids as I have to beg them to choose to read from it for...

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  • The Little Boy And Old Man

    The Little Boy And Old Man By Shel Silverstein

    in Famous Family Poems

    Said the little boy, sometimes I drop my spoon.
    Said the little old man, I do that too.
    The little boy whispered, I wet my pants.
    I do too, laughed the old man.

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    • Stories 0
    • Shares 421
    • Favorited 3
    • Votes 47
    • Rating 4.34
    • Poem of the Day
  • Sick

    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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    • Stories 8
    • Shares 11083
    • Favorited 23
    • Votes 1881
    • Rating 4.42
    • Poem of the Week
    Latest Shared Story

    I like this. This poet is a genius. It could be a song or recited, which is not common much in poems. It is funny and sooooo relatable!

  • View All Poems by Shel Silverstein

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