Do you know that place before the street begins? It's where the grass grows soft and white and the sun burns crimson bright. It's where you might even see the moon-bird rest from his flight in the cool peppermint wind.
If you said it's where the sidewalk ends, you're right! That means you've probably read or heard Shel Silverstein's famous poem Where the Sidewalk Ends a time or two. And today is the perfect day to read it again!
Every April is National Poetry Month. Organized by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month began in 1996 as a way to encourage the public to experience and enjoy poetry in the United States.
Many children around the world learn to love poetry by reading the famous works of Shel Silverstein. Born in Chicago on September 25, 1930, Sheldon “Shel" Silverstein was an American who created poetry and children's books, as well as songs, screenplays, and cartoons.
Shel Silverstein's works have been translated into over 30 languages around the world. His books have also sold more than 20 million copies, making him one of the world's most popular children's authors.
In addition to collections of poetry, such as Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic, Silverstein is well-known for his most popular children's book, The Giving Tree. Intended to give children a realistic look at life, The Giving Tree continues to be one of the most discussed children's books of all time. It also continues to be listed as one of the best children's books of all time.
Think you could continue in Silverstein's footsteps and write poetry or children's books? Sure you could! Silverstein himself began writing when he was only 12 years old. He claims that girls showed no interest in him and he didn't have much athletic ability, so he began to write. Since he wasn't familiar with the styles of any famous poets, he developed his own unique style. We're so glad he did!
Although he didn't write as much in his later years, he did publish Falling Up: Poems and Drawings in 1996. Silverstein passed away a few years later, succumbing to a heart attack in Key West, Florida, on May 10, 1999.
To help celebrate National Poetry Month, we leave you with these poetic words of encouragement from Shel Silverstein:
Listen to 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.