Happy Birthday, Shel Silverstein!

Image: Finding My Balance.

Today is Shel Silverstein’s birthday! I don’ t know about you, but when I was between the ages of 8-10, I thought Shel was the ultimate poet. Sorry Walt Whitman, apologies e.e. cummings, but you really can’t hold a candle to the beauty of Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout who would not take the garbage out. At least in the mind of a third grader.

Shel Silverstein wasn’t just an amazing children’s writer. He was a profoundly creative person writing songs for Johnny Cash (he wrote “A Boy Named Sue”) and started his career creating cartoons for Playboy.  But really, his writing for children is pretty darn marvelous. Sometimes rogue, sometimes gross, and sometimes so completely spot on and heartening.  Like these:.


Oh yeah–and he gave us this book… As I get older and read it again, my thoughts on the book change.  So simple, yet so profound. Particularly as a parent. Oh, to read this as a parent is insane–like reading a different book.



Sadly, Shel died in 1999, but his work will be read by kids all over the world with a giggle.

I can’t wait to introduce the Peach to him!  Do you remember any of his poems?


8 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Shel Silverstein!

    1. I know, right? And also, he had a rather tragic life–his wife died and then his daughter died! So tragic, and yet he continued to write such wonderful lighthearted positive things.

  1. I loved the poem about the babysitter—sitting on the baby—-and all his stuff. My fifth grade teacher read us THE GIVING TREE and cried while she read it. I read all of his books to my students when I taught–I brought his poetry books on our bathroom breaks and read the class poems as the waited in line and filed in and out of the bathroom!! I consider him pivotal in getting some of my reluctant readers interested in books! Thanks for the post!!!

Leave a Reply