16 Shel Silverstein Quotes That’ll Make You Smile & Think At The Same Time

Shel Silverstein was a much celebrated poet, cartoonist, and children’s author whose books and poems have graced the bedtimes of millions of children across the world.

He carefully crafted each of his works, not wasting a single letter or adding anything unnecessary. For a child, Shel’s skillful use of the English language painted vivid pictures in their imaginations with his deliciously descriptive rhythms and rhymes.

As an adult, you’ll be able to better appreciate the depth and meaning that he weaves into his work and the lessons we can all learn from them.

So, here are 16 of the very best Shel Silverstein quotes and poems:

Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.
– A Light In The Attic

You are unique in this world and you should let your one-of-a-kind light shine bright so that others can see it. Don’t hide yourself away, conforming to the norms of society. Be you, and contribute you to the world – it will appreciate you all the more for it.

Listen to Mustn’ts, child, listen to the Don’ts.
Listen to the Shouldn’ts, the Impossibles, the Won’ts.
Listen to the Never Haves, then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child, Anything can be.
– Where the Sidewalk Ends

Don’t let someone else tell you what you can’t do or can’t be. Set your sights high and never stop reminding yourself that you are capable of anything.

I will not play at tug o’ war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.
– Where the Sidewalk Ends

Caring, kindness, and cooperation go a long way to ensuring we all get the most out of life. Fill your day with these things – even when conflict is inevitable.

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you – just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.
– The Voice

Listen to your intuition, your gut feeling, that little voice that guides you towards the outcomes that most fit with your goals and values. Don’t let others make your decisions for you.

How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.
– A Light In The Attic

The good that you see and experience in the world must first come from you. Only then can it be reflected back. So live good and give good.

There are no happy endings.
Endings are the saddest part,
So just give me a happy middle
And a very happy start.
– Every Thing on It

When things come to an end, it’s natural to feel sad and dismayed, so make the most of the moment and soak it into your hearts, because everything is temporary and everything will end.

All The Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin’ In The Sun,
Talkin’ ‘Bout The Things
They Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Done…
But All Those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All Ran Away And Hid
From One Little Did.

Nothing comes from looking back on all the things you would have, could have, or should have done – nothing apart from regret. Only when you do things can you look back on a life well spent.

She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by
And never knew.
– Every Thing on It

If you never let the world see your true self, you may miss out on some of the most amazing relationships. People just like you could be walking on by, but unless you show who you really are, they won’t know to stop and say hello.

If the track is tough and the hill is rough,
thinking you can just ain’t enough!
– Where the Sidewalk Ends

Positive thinking can go a long way to helping you achieve your dreams and aspirations, but it doesn’t even come close to the power of positive action. Sometimes you’ve just got to knuckle down and put everything you’ve got into life.

Tell me I’m clever,
Tell me I’m kind,
Tell me I’m talented,
Tell me I’m cute,
Tell me I’m sensitive,
Graceful and Wise
Tell me I’m perfect
But tell me the TRUTH.
– Falling Up

A single truth is worth more than every lie ever spoken. When it comes to those you really care about, be willing to tell them the truth and be happy to be told the truth in return.

Underneath my outside face
There’s a face that none can see.
A little less smiley,
A little less sure,
But a whole lot more like me.
– Every Thing on It

We all know this to be true, but we don’t always remember it when dealing with other people. Never forget that underneath the surface, we’re all a bit insecure and anxious.

If there is a book you want to read but isn`t written yet, write it.

Don’t wait for someone else to change your world; if you want something doing, do it yourself. Write your own life because if you let others write it for you, the story will never be quite to your liking.

The Yesees said yes to anything
That anyone suggested.
The Noees said no to everything
Unless it was proven and tested.
So the Yesees all died of much too much
And the Noees all died of fright,
But somehow I think the Thinkforyourselfees
All came out all right.
– Every Thing on It

Yes and no are not dirty words – use them wisely when the time is right. You should not just follow the crowd and go along with what they say, but neither should you hold back on living because of the uncertainties that exist. Think for yourself and make up your own mind.

…Just ’cause somethin’ ain’t been done
Don’t mean it can’t be did…
– Every Thing on It

Innovation is the beating heart of progress, so don’t assume (and don’t let others tell you) that you can’t do something because it hasn’t been done before. Be a pioneer, forge a path that no one has walked. Believe that it is possible and that you are capable.

She drank from a bottle called DRINK ME
And she grew so tall,
She ate from a plate called TASTE ME
And down she shrank so small.
And so she changed, while other folks
Never tried nothin’ at all.
– Alice

If you never try anything new, you’ll never change, grow, and experience the full wonders of the world around you. Don’t hide yourself away and live a life of complacency – explore the new and the novel and let it expand your mind.

I made myself a snowball
As perfect as can be.
I thought I’d keep it as a pet,
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for it’s head.
Then last night it ran away,
But first – It wet the bed.
– Snowball

Everything in life is transient. Nothing lasts forever. You can’t keep things that aren’t meant to be kept, but you can enjoy them while they last.

If you liked these, you’ll be sure to love our collections of Winnie-the-Pooh quotes, Roald Dahl quotes, Alice in Wonderland quotes, and Wind in the Willows quotes.

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