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Shel Silverstein

1930–1999

Shel Silverstein was born on September 25, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois, and began writing and drawing at a young age. 

Silverstein is best known as the author of iconic books of prose and poetry for young readers. His works include such modern classics as A Light in the Attic (HarperCollins, 1981), recipient of the School Library Journal Best Books Award in 1982; Where the Sidewalk Ends (Harper & Row, 1974), a 1974 Michigan Young Readers Award winner; and The Giving Tree (Harper & Row, 1964). Runny Babbit (HarperCollins, 2005), a posthumous poetry collection of spoonerisms, was conceived and completed before his death.

A cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, and recording artist, Silverstein was also a Grammy-winning and Oscar-nominated songwriter. His books, which he also illustrated, are characterized by a deft mixing of the sly and the serious, the macabre and the 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.

Shel Silverstein
Photo credit: Larry Moyer
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