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Shel Silverstein Biography
Shelly Silverstein, most commonly known as Shel Silverstein. He is best known in children's literature for his poetry; however, he was also a cartoonist, composer, lyricist and folk singer. Silverstein's work, which he illustrated himself, is characterized by a deft mixing of the sly and the serious, the macabre and the just plain silly. Silverstein was born on September 25, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois. His wicked, giddy humor is beloved by countless adults as well as by children.
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. He developed his very own writing style at a young age and was unfamiliar with the poetry of the great poets of his time. "I was so lucky that I didn't have anyone to copy, be impressed by. I had developed my own style, I was creating before I knew there was a Thurber, a Benchley, a Price and a Steinberg. I never saw their work until I was around thirty" By the time girls were interested in him he was involved in his work."
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), The Missing Piece Meets the Big O (1982). He won awards for all three books: The Michigan Young Readers Award for Where the Sidewalk Ends (1981);
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