Happy Birthday, Shel Silverstein! 09.25.2012

 

Happy Birthday, Shel Silverstein!

09.25.2012

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

I was nine-years-old and in grade five when I first came across the poetry of Shel Silverstein. My first book was Where the Sidewalk Ends, published by HarperCollins in 1974. And to date, it’s still a book I thoroughly enjoy if not only for its nostalgia. And now my eight-year-old son, Michael, and my three-year-old daughter, Mercedes, enjoy its poetry, too (not to mention they also enjoy colouring the illustrations!).

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And one of my favourite bookish poems comes from Shel Silverstein’s collection, A Light in the Attic called “Overdues”:

What do I do?

What do I do?

This library book is 42

Years overdue.

I admit that it’s mine

But I can’t pay the fine—

Should I turn it in

Or hide it again?

What do I do?

What do I do?

– From A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein, HarperCollins Publishers, 1981, p.   65.

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And of course, one of my all-time favourites is “Backward Bill.” Here’s a YouTube clip of Shel Silverstein reading it aloud:

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So, in honour of your birthday, we remember you, Uncle Shelby! Thanks for being a best friend to a young, introverted girl who loved words (and still does). You are missed. And wherever you are, I trust that the sidewalk never ends.

Happy birthday, Shel Silverstein!

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Which is your favourite Shel Silverstein book or poem?

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