USPS to release Shel Silverstein stamp

The United States Postal Service (USPS) will honour U.S. author and illustrator Shel Silverstein with a Forever stamp featuring artwork from his book, The Giving Tree, on April 8.

The first-day-of-issue event will be held at Silverstein’s former school, Chicago’s Darwin Elementary School, that day at 11 a.m. (CT).

Described by USPS as “extraordinarily versatile,” Silverstein (1930-99) was one of the 20th century’s “most imaginative authors and illustrators,” the postal service added.

Published in 1964, The Giving Tree details a friendship between a motherly tree and a boy. As the child grows older, the tree gives him its shade, apples, branches and trunk. The story ends with the boy – then an old man – returning to rest against the tree’s stump. The best-selling tale of selflessness, which is accompanied by the author’s elegantly simple black-and-white illustrations, is considered a classic of children’s literature.

Silverstein’s zany, self-illustrated books of poetry are similarly revered. Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974), A Light in the Attic (1981), Falling Up (1996) and Every Thing On It (2011) feature clever and sometimes playfully nonsensical verses adored by young people all over the world. Children are enthralled by Silverstein’s poetry, which is full of fantastical imagery and often deals with the joys and fears of childhood. The four distinctive collections of poetry were bestsellers.

The New York Times named Where the Sidewalk Ends an “outstanding book of 1974,” and Silverstein’s album version of the book earned a Grammy Award for the best children’s recording.

The multi-talented Silverstein also wrote and illustrated books for adult readers. He recorded his own songs in addition to writing hits for other artists. Silverstein’s music has appeared in many films. In the 1980s, he wrote off-Broadway plays in New York. He died in May 1999 at his home in Key West, Fla.

In 2002, Silverstein was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Three of Silverstein’s books have been published posthumously—Runny Babbit (2005), a children’s story chock full of clever spoonerisms; Every Thing On It; and Runny Babbit Returns (2017). His diverse body of work, which has been translated into 47 languages, remains beloved by adults and children alike.

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