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 - The Giving Tree

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

  • The Oak And The Rose

    Famous Poem

    in Famous Children Poems

    An oak tree and a rosebush grew,
    Young and green together,
    Talking the talk of growing things-
    Wind and water and weather.

    More...

    Go To Complete Poem

    • Stories 0
    • Shares 154
    • Favorited 0
    • Votes 14
    • Rating 3.43
  • Underface

    Famous Poem

    in Famous Children Poems

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

    More...

    Go To Complete Poem

    • Stories 4
    • Shares 3786
    • Favorited 32
    • Votes 953
    • Rating 4.30
    • Poem of the Day
    Featured Shared Story

    What a perfect poem! At times we could basically tell how people were feeling despite their facial expressions. It was in their eyes the tell- tale signs that led us to see at least the...

    Read complete story

    Touched by the poem? Share your story! (4)

  • Lester

    Famous Poem

    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.

    More...

    Go To Complete Poem

    • Stories 0
    • Shares 4216
    • Favorited 11
    • Votes 319
    • Rating 4.15
    • Poem of the Day
  • Listen To The MUSTN'TS

    Famous Poem


    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

    More...

    Go To Complete Poem

    • Stories 1
    • Shares 8836
    • Favorited 28
    • Votes 1319
    • Rating 4.16
    • Poem of the Week
    Featured Shared Story

    I love this poem because I have been writing love letters to my two teenagers and eight year old for fifteen years reminding them of what they shouldn't.

    Touched by the poem? Share your story! (1)

  • Hug O' War

    Famous Poem


    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,

    More...

    Go To Complete Poem

    • Stories 1
    • Shares 8832
    • Favorited 43
    • Votes 1316
    • Rating 4.37
    Featured Shared Story

    Thanks for the simple but profound poem. I am a bus driver and I strive to be the open heart and guide for my children who ride with me. It is not always easy to hear what they have to say or...

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    Touched by the poem? Share your story! (1)



  • View All Poems by Shel Silverstein

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