Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Boy Named Shel

--by Hanje Richards

Anyone who knows anything about children’s books probably is aware of Shel Silverstein. He wrote The Giving Tree (J FIC SIL), A Light in the Attic (J 811 SIL) and Where the Sidewalk Ends (J 811.54 SIL), which we have in our collection at the Copper Queen Library.
These are perennial favorites of children, teachers, and librarians, but what do we actually know about Shel Silverstein the man?

I, for one, knew absolutely nothing about the author/illustrator of these wonderfully popular children’s books. Well, at last there is an opportunity to find out through a recently acquired biography of Silverstein, A Boy Named Shel: The Life and Times of Shel Silverstein, by Lisa Rogak. This book is currently on the New Non-Fiction shelf and will soon be moved upstairs to the Biography Section.

Besides the children’s books he wrote and illustrated, which have sold millions, Silverstein wrote songs like A Boy Named Sue and The Unicorn, drew cartoons for Stars and Stripes, and wrote experimental plays and collaborated on scripts with David Mamet.

Shel Silverstein, born in 1930, lived until 1999. He lived a life of travel and adventure, enthusiasm and vitality and had a rich imagination that created the poems, songs, and drawings that have touched the lives of so many children and adults.

Enjoy the biography of this modern Renaissance man, and share his poems and stories with your children or grandchildren.