Shel Silverstein

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Silverstein's signature

"His poems read like those a fourth grader would write in the back of his notebook when the teacher's eye was turned." -Eric A. Kimmel, in Twentieth-Century Children’s Writers

Sheldon Allan "Shel" Silverstein (September 25, 1930 – May 10, 1999) was an American writer, poet, singer-songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter, and a children's author who is mostly known for his children's book The Giving Tree. He has won two Grammy Awards.

Although he’s most known for his children’s poetry, he also was good at many other things. In the 1950s, while he was serving in the U.S. armed forces, Silverstein drew cartoons for the Pacific Stars and Stripes, an American military newspaper. He started writing and drawing cartoons for Playboy magazine in 1952. He also wrote songs. Some of his poetry was based off of songs he had written. Shel Silverstein also wrote plays. It was Ursula Nordstrom, a book editor, who suggested that he should write for children.

Silverstein’s first book of poetry, Don’t Bump the Glump! and Other Fantasies, was published in 1964. He’s most well-known for his books A Light in the Attic, The Giving Tree, and Where the Sidewalk Ends. He has been compared to other writers, like A. A. Milne, Edward Lear, and Dr. Seuss. Shel Silverstein won multiple awards for his children’s poetry books. Where the Sidewalk Ends won the Michigan Young Readers’ Award in 1981, and Silverstein also won the George C. Stone Center for Children’s Books Award twice in 1984. Two books of poetry were published after Shel Silverstein’s death, Runny Babbit and Every Thing on It.

He was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in both Chicago and in Florida. He died in Key West, Florida on May 10, 1999 after having a heart attack. He was 68 years old.[1] However, Silverstein’s great poetry is still enjoyed today.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Shel Silverstein." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Vol. 19. Detroit: Gale, 1999. Biography in Context. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.
  2. Carlson, Ann D. "Silverstein, Shel." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

Other websites[change | change source]