Born in Chicago Illinois in 1932, Shel Silverstein is best known in children's literature for his poetry; however he was also a cartoonist, composer, lyricist and folksinger. His poem, The Unicorn Song was recorded by the Irish Rovers. Other hit songs included A Boy Named Sue and The Cover of the Rollin' Stone for Dr. Hook.
Shel began writing as a young boy in Chicago. Although he would rather have been playing baseball or chasing girls, he could not catch or hit a ball, and the girls were not interested in him. He gave his energies to writing.
Silverstein never planned on writing and drawing for children. His friend Tomi Ungerer brought him to Ursula Nordstom's office where she convinced him to do children's books. One of his earliest and most successful books, The Giving Tree, was rejected by editor William Cole. Cole felt that the book fell between adults' and children's literature and would never sell. In Silverstein's eyes, it was a story about two people; one gives and the other takes. Ultimately, both adults and children embraced the book.
He hoped that people, no matter what age, could identify with his other books as well. His works include Falling Up (1996), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1981), A Light in the Attic (1981) and The Missing Piece (1982). He won awards for several of his books, which many regard as outstanding.
His wicked, giddy humor is beloved by countless adults as well as by children. He died in May 1999.