As much as I like to write stories for children ~ I love to read them. I still have all my favorites sitting on my bookshelves and it makes me happy just to see them there.
The Giving Tree is, in my opinion, one of the best stories ever written. So simple yet so powerful. The ending made me cry the first time I read it and still does to this day. You can actually feel how much the tree loves the boy. I remember thinking when I was a child; I hope someone loves me one day as much as tree.
Years later, I was living in NYC and dating a cartoonist for one of the daily papers. He also did cartoons for The New Yorker and Playboy and received holiday invites to their parties which I happily attended with him. At the Playboy party, I saw a face I recognized but couldn’t quite place until I was introduced to him ~ it was Shel Silverstein!
I was only writing grocery lists at that point which was a good thing for him since I would have probably talked his ear off otherwise. “It’s very nice to meet you, I love your books,” is all I managed that evening standing in the presence of genius. He smiled politely.
Five months later I heard he died of a heart attack. I found my copy of The Giving Tree and read it slowly. This time I cried from beginning to end, thinking of the man who inspired my passion for books and poetry and trees…