Did you know that there's a Shel Silverstein website? I discovered this as I was researching to write this post! Oh, my kids are gonna love this! Who doesn't have a favorite Silverstein poem?
|1955, Pacific Stars and Stripes|
Shel Silverstein was born today in 1930. He began writing at age 12, as he wasn't athletic. He was unfamiliar with classic poetry, so developed his own style. While he served in the Korean War, he was a cartoonist for Pacific Stars and Stripes. After his service he was a cartoonist for Playboy, until his success with writing for children.
Our long-time favorite, The Giving Tree was actually his second book, written in 1964. (Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back was his first, in 1963.) He had a difficult time getting it published. It was too short, too sad, too in-between adult and children's literature. Eventually, an editor at Harpor Children's Books allowed it, saying "because life, you know , has pretty sad endings."
He returned to humor and wrote many books throughout the 1960's, 70s and 80's. He also began to write screenplays and lyrics and compose music, such as A Boy Named Sue in 1969, a number one hit for Johnny Cash.