Sheldon "Shel" Allan Silverstein began writing when he was only twelve years old. He would have preferred to be playing ball with children his age, but alas, he had no athletic ability. Also, girls showed no interest in him, so he began to write. He was not familiar with the style of any famous poets. Since he had no one whom he could copy or follow, he began developing his own technique. In 1963, at the suggestion of fellow illustrator Tomi Ungerer, he was introduced to Ursula Nordstrom who convinced him to begin writing for children. One of Silverstein's most popular books, "The Giving Tree," was published in 1964. Ironically, just a few years prior, editor William Cole rejected this book, claiming that it would never sell because it fell between the interests of children and adults. In 1974, Shel Silverstein wrote "Where the Sidewalk Ends," which won the New York Times Outstanding Book Award, 1974, and went on to win the Michigan Young Readers' Award, 1981, and the George G. Stone Award, 1984. Shel Silverstein passed away on May 10, 1999 from a heart attack in Key West, Florida.