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Shel Silverstein Biography

Birthdate: September 25, 1932
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinos

If you don't know who Shel Silverstein is, you most definitely know his work. Shel excelled as an author, poet, songwriter, illustrator, playwright and composer - among other things. There's not much this guy couldn't do. Sadly, Shel Silverstein died of a heart attack in 1999. For more on this talented writer, read on!

Shel Silverstein - Early Days

Sheldon Allan Silverstein was born in Chicago, Illinois. He wasn't much of an athlete or a hit with the ladies, so he spent his time writing and doodling. In the 1950s, he joined the army and fought in Korea and Japan. During that time he drew cartoons for the military magazine Stars and Stripes. He also learned how to play guitar, which would come in handy when he started writing songs later on.

Shel Silverstein - Getting Childlish

Shel Silverstein was happily working as an adult cartoonist when he was practically dragged, kicking and screaming, by a friend to see Ursula Nordstom, the director of Harper's Department of Books for Boys and Girls. She convinced him to write children's books. His first book was called Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back. Soon afterwards he wrote The Giving Tree, which launched him to success. Another of his most popular works is Where the Sidewalk Ends, which is a collection of his poetry.

Shel Silverstein - Renaissance Man

As if being a famous illustrator and author weren't enough, Shel Silverstein is also well known for his songwriting talents. Shel wrote a bunch of hit songs in his day, such as A Boy Named Sue (performed by Johnny Cash), The Unicorn (performed by the Irish Rovers) and Cover of the Rolling Stone (performed by Dr. Hook). If you don't know who these peeps are, ask your 'rents - they'll be impressed.

Shel Silverstein - Did U Know?

  • Shel Silverstein won a Grammy in 1984 for the musical version of Where the Sidewalk Ends.
  • Shel Silverstein's books have sold 18 million copies in hardcover and have been translated into 20 languages.
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends is one of the best selling hardcovers of all time.
  • Shel Silverstein was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 (three years after he died).
  • Shel Silverstein Says...

    "Draw a crazy picture, write a nutty poem, sing a mumble-gumble song, whistle through your comb. Do a loony-goony dance 'cross the kitchen floor, put something silly in the world that ain't been there before."

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