Shel Silverstein, beloved author of Where the Sidewalk Ends and many other collections of poetry for children, was born on September 25, 1930. Born Sheldon Allan Silverstein, in Chicago, he was well known as a children's poet and book illustrator. That wasn't his primary goal, but his friend Tomi Ungerer introduced him to Ursula Nordstrom, legendary editor at Harper, and she convinced him to try his hand at writing.
His first book, The Giving Tree, was rejected by editor William Cole because it fell somewhere between being a children's book and an adult book. Today, over five million copies of the book have been sold. Where the Sidewalk Ends was named by Publishers' Weekly as one of the bestselling hardcovers of all time.
Silverstein was also a cartoonist, composer, lyricist, and folksinger. His poem "The Unicorn Song" was recorded by The Irish Rovers. Johnny Cash recorded "A Boy Named Sue." Mr. Silverstein died suddenly in 1999, an American cultural icon.