Shel Silverstein Biography

Who Was Shel Silverstein?

Shel Silverstein known for his remarkable contributions as a poet, songwriter, and children’s author, Silverstein has left an indelible mark on the literary world. His unique style of storytelling captivates all readers. He sang songs including “A Boy Named Sue,” familiarize by Johnny Cash, and Loretta Lynn’s “One’s on the Way.

Shel Silverstein
Photo: The boot/celeblifegrphy

Early Career

Shel Silverstein was born on September 25, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois. In 1950, Silverstein was a cartoonist for Stars & Stripes magazine during his service in the U.S. Army in Korea and Japan. After his stint in the Army was up, his work for Playboy magazine that began garnering Silverstein national recognition for his cartoons, which appeared in every issue from 1957 to the mid-1970s.

During this time, he moved into writing and music. He contributed poems to Playboy and published his own books of cartoons, like “Take Ten” and “Grab Your Socks.” American Wirter Shel Silverstein recorded many albums and composed songs like “A Boy Named Sue” & “Sylvia’s Mother.”

Books ‘The Giving Tree’ and Other Writings

In 1963, Poet Silverstein started writing material for children at the suggestion of book editor Ursula Nordstrom. His first children’s book, “Uncle Shelby’s Story of Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back,” was followed by others like “A Giraffe and a Half” and his most popular and excellent work, “The Giving Tree.” Despite its initially mixed reception due to its ambiguous themes, “The Giving Tree” has become one of the most beloved and discussed children’s books of all time in the world.

Musical Works

In addition to writing books, Silverstein also built several albums throughout the 1970s, including “Freakin’ at the Freaker’s Ball” and “Legends and Lies: The Songs of Shel Silverstein.” He started to release children’s titles like “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “The Missing Piece”.


Silverstein’s song “A Boy Named Sue” won a 1970 Grammy and was nominated for an Academy Award. And a Golden Globe Award for his song “I’m Checkin’ Out”.

Later Years And Death

Shel Silverstein has a long-lasting influence on children’s books and music. His writings have been translated into other languages. After the 1970s ended, Silverstein kept publishing beloved children’s books. Two such titles were The Missing Piece Meets the Big O (1981), and A Light in the Attic (1981), a compilation of poetry and drawings that went on to win multiple prizes.

Silverstein’s output was minimal in the 1980s, but he died on May 10, 1999, from a heart attack in Key West, Florida.

Interesting Facts

  • Title: Shel Silverstein Biography
  • Full Name: Shel Silverstein
  • Birth Date: September 25, 1930
  • Birth State: Illinois
  • Birth Country: United States
  • Father Name: Nathan Silverstein
  • Mother Name: Helen
  • Gender: Male
  • Net Worth: $20 million
  • Known For: Known for children’s books such as ‘The Giving Tree’ and ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends.’
  • Industries: Writing, Publishing
  • Death Date: May 10, 1999
  • Death State: Florida
  • Author: Editors


  • If the track is tough and the hill is rough, THINKING you can just ain’t enough!
  • Tell me I’m clever, Tell me I’m kind, Tell me I’m talented, Tell me I’m cute, Tell me I’m sensitive, Graceful and wise, Tell me I’m perfect – But tell me the truth.
  • Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.
  • I want to go everywhere, look at and listen to everything. You can go crazy with some of the wonderful stuff there is in life.