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

  • 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.

    Read Complete Poem

    • Stories 4
    • Shares 4745
    • Favorited 13
    • Votes 1423
    • Rating 4.39
    Latest Shared Story

    Hi, I just want to share this lovely poetry with my students. Thanks.

  • Paul Bunyan

    Paul Bunyan By Shel Silverstein

    in Famous Children Poems

    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.

    Read Complete Poem

    • Stories 2
    • Shares 246
    • Favorited 3
    • Votes 311
    • Rating 4.03
    Latest Shared Story

    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...

    Read complete story

  • Won't You?

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

    in Famous Children Poems

    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.

    Read Complete Poem

    • Stories 0
    • Shares 61
    • Favorited 1
    • Votes 151
    • Rating 3.72
  • Dirty Face

    Dirty Face By Shel Silverstein

    in Famous Children Poems

    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.

    Read Complete Poem

    • Stories 1
    • Shares 1031
    • Favorited 8
    • Votes 707
    • Rating 4.11
    Latest Shared Story

    So cute!! Like the spaghetti, chocolate, ice-cream. It's the kids that get the dirtiest, that have the most fun. It's a lifetime of adventure and silliness that they will remember forever....

    Read complete story

  • A Boy Named Sue

    A Boy Named Sue By Shel Silverstein

    in Famous Funny Poems

    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,...

    Read Complete Poem

    • Stories 1
    • Shares 215
    • Favorited 9
    • Votes 764
    • Rating 4.07
    Latest Shared Story

    Johnny Cash was the right person to sing these lyrics. He made an interesting song from an awesome poem. Very entertaining. Love it!
    Jac. Judy A. Campbell

  • View All Poems by Shel Silverstein

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