To begin, I will give some of the basic information about the poet himself. I was a bit surprised to discover his many and varied talents, some that might not immediately be expected from an author of children's poetry. The age and nature of your students may influence which information is relevant to them.
Silverstein was born on September 25, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois and died of a heart attack on May 10, 1999. His full name was Sheldon Allan Silverstein, and he refers to himself as Uncle Shelby in
The Story of Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back
. Though he is best known as a writer of children's poetry, he had careers as a cartoonist, playwright, singer, and songwriter. He served with the armed forces in Japan and Korea where he began drawing cartoons for Stars and Stripes, the American military publication. He also drew cartoons for Playboy magazine. He wrote a number of songs. Two of them, "A Boy Named Sue," sung by Johnny Cash and "The Unicorn Song," recorded by the Irish Rovers, achieved some popular music fame. He wrote nine plays for adults. Two were produced in New York and received positive reviews. He composed music for the movies, including music for the film,
Postcards from the Edge
. More detail on Silverstein's career outside of his children's poetry success is available on the Internet, but not a great deal is available about him as a person, except for what we can infer from his works.
His greatest success came as a writer of poetry for children, poetry also enjoyed by adults. His three collections,
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Light in the Attic
(1996), received many awards and have sold millions. His books for children include
The Giving Tree
A Giraffe and a Half, The Missing Piece,
The Missing Piece Meets the Big O
. Though they clearly narrate a story, most of these works contain many elements of poetry.