Shel Silverstein was born on September 25, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois, and began writing and drawing at a young age. He became a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist, and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter.
Silverstein is best known as the author of iconic books of prose and poetry for young readers. His works include such modern classics as Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back (1963), The Giving Tree (1964), A Giraffe and a Half (1964), The Missing Piece (1976), and The Missing Piece Meets the Big O (1981). His immensely popular poetry collections are Where the Sidewalk Ends, a 1974 Michigan Young Readers Award winner; A Light in the Attic, recipient of the School Library Journal Best Books Award in 1982; Falling Up (1996); and Don’t Bump the Glump! And Other Fantasies, which was originally published in 1963 and reissued in 2008. Runny Babbit, a posthumous poetry collection of spoonerisms, was conceived and completed before his death.
Silverstein’s books, which he also illustrated, are characterized by a deft mixing of the sly and the serious, the macabre, and the just plain silly. His unique imagination and bold brand of humor is beloved by countless adults and children throughout the world. He died on May 10, 1999.