Most people know Shel Silverstein the author of children’s books, such as “The Giving Tree,” “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “A Light in the Attic”. But do you know Shel Silverstein the playwright or the songwriter?
His talents and accomplishments reach much farther than the children’s books of poems most people are familiar with.
When you think of children’s literature several books come to mind. One book on everyone’s list is “The Giving Tree.” This book has sold millions of copies and is known all over the world. What most people don’t know is how hard Silverstein had to push to get that book published.
When he took it in to people, they refused to publish it. He stated in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 1964, “Everybody loved it, they were touched by it, they would read it and cry, and say it was beautiful.” He went on to say, “But… one publisher said it was too short. Others felt that the book fell between adult and children’s literature and wouldn’t be popular.” No one would publish it.
But he stuck with it. He refused to change anything, even the sad ending. He felt the story was one that needed to be heard and shared. It took four years for him to find someone willing to publish. Ursula Nordstrom, an editor at Harper and Row, read the book and saw Silverstein’s vision and what he was trying to accomplish. She offered to publish the book as he wrote it.
It seemed that through his life, both personal and professional, he strived to live what he wrote. His poem, Listen to the Mustn’ts Child is a poem that he clearly lived by.
Listen To The Mustn’ts
Listen to Mustn’ts, child, […]