Things (& People) I’m Obsessed With: Shel Silverstein

Description: Shel Silverstein was a very creative man. He wrote and sang songs and lived an interesting life, but I will always remember him for his books of children’s poetry that were my favorite growing up: A Light in the AtticFalling Up, and Where the Sidewalk Ends

Why I’m Obsessed: His drawings and poems are so unique. He had such an incredible and uncommon mind, and I would read his poetry books over and over when I was a kid. My copies of his books are well-loved, and I still have many of the poems memorized. It’s pretty clear that I think reading novels is super important for kids and adults alike, but I feel the same way about reading and memorizing poetry. Shel Silverstein made poetry so fun and accessible for kids all over the world.

Caveat: I know that many people love The Giving Tree, but it was never one of my favorites. When I read it again, it strikes me how awful and selfish the boy is, even as he sees how selfless the tree is with him. And he never learns, not really. Perhaps that’s part of the draw of the book, to teach us a lesson about selflessness, but I just can’t bring myself to like it.