Discover the Ultimate Bedtime Magic With These 5 Enchanting Shel Silverstein Poems

Need help sleeping? Check out these Shel Silverstein poems that might help encourage some fun dreams!

Author's Corner Book Culture Classics Featured Authors Recommendations Young Readers
Three books from the Shel Silverstein collection

This year, we’re celebrating Shel Silverstein’s 93rd birthday. But, in all honesty, every day is a good day to end by reading some of his most cozy poems before bed! We all love Silverstein’s countless collections of poems and his ability to connect with younger and older audiences. Shel’s beautifully written stories almost always hide a deeper meaning for his readers, and they are always accompanied by a simple yet funky illustration to dance in his reader’s heads for generations to come. In this piece, we will be looking at five of Shel’s poems that bring a sense of comfort. These poems, to me, are best before bed and help me sleep deeper and dream brighter.

From Where The Sidewalk Ends

Where the sidewalk ends by shel silverstein, book cover

1. Hug O’ War

Short and sweet, this poem embraces its reader and brings tranquility. This poem criticizes the essence of war itself and captures the importance of peace over violence. Silverstein compares tugging to hugging and how hugging can bring more happiness than injury. His words are cozy and warm for his readers, and this poem can be interactive if read aloud! Read this to your child, nephew, cousin, whoever, and make sure to give them a hug and cuddle like Silverstein says!

From A Light in the Attic

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein, book cover.

2. Put Something In

One of my favorite poems of all time, this piece brings a similar feel to Diving Board. The poem is straightforward yet incredibly courageous. The overall message is to not be afraid to be yourself. Silverstein encourages silliness and creativity from his readers. He wants his readers to write the way they want, to dance as funny as they can, and to be their true selves. I like to read this poem to give myself a healthy headspace before I sleep. I want to dream silly, and I want to wake up silly. This poem is the best way to do so!

From Falling Up


3. Diving Board

At an early age, every child must learn what fear is. Whatever shape or form, everyone has their fears and must learn to face them. In Silversteins Diving Board, a young boy must face his fear of the dreaded diving board at the swimming pool. The boy is eager to jump, and he has double-checked that everything is safe for his big dive. Though he is ready to face his fear, he is stuck in his tracks and unable to move. This witty piece is perfect before a big snooze; it will leave you with a sense of capability to face your fears at your own pace.

4. Snowball

Though a bit more witty than the last few mentions, Snowball is a great read on a bad day. Sometimes when I feel low, words of encouragement just don’t help. Although Silverstein has symbolized many uplifting messages for his readers, occasionally, his silly pieces are the best way to end a sour mood. Snowball describes someone who makes a snowball and keeps it as a pet. Of course, the snowball melts, yet the speaker claims it ran away and wet the bed. The piece is cute, entertaining, and a fantastic way to turn a bad day around before bed.

5. The Voice

We all need encouragement at times, but Silverstein’s The Voice helps his readers understand how important your encouragement is. In this piece, he discusses all the important figures a person can have in their life. Friends, family, teachers, and so many more people make a big impact on who we are as a person. Yet, the most important person to listen to is yourself.

In just two sentences, Silverstein highlights the significance a person makes on themselves. He helps his readers envision their own opinion as an important factor in anything and to never forget the effectiveness of your voice. This is an excellent piece before a big slumber. It could encourage you to do something great in the morning!

Shel Silverstein was a fantastic, clever writer. Although he may not be around to create more incredible pieces, he will remain luminary for generations to come. Though many of his poems are fantastic reads, I hope you enjoy these pieces if you are looking for a good night’s sleep!

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