Sheldon Allan "Shel" Silverstein (September 25, 1930 â€“ May 10, 1999 - (aged 68)) was an American poet, singer-songwriter, cartoonist, screenwriter, and author of children's books. He styled himself as Uncle Shelby in some works. Translated into more than 30 languages, his books have sold over 20 million copies. He was the recipient of two Grammy Awards, as well as a Golden Globe and Academy Award nominee. Silverstein began drawing at age seven by tracing the works of Al Capp. He told Publishers Weekly: "When I was a kidâ€”12 to 14, I'd much rather have been a good baseball player or a hit with the girls, but I couldn't play ball. I couldn't dance. Luckily, the girls didn't want me. Not much I could do about that. So I started to draw and to write.