The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a modern Children’s Book classic. First published in 1964 it has gone on to become one of the best selling children’s books of all time.
It is a simple story of the selfless love a tree has for a little boy. Continuing to give from themself (the tree) whatever resources it has to the little boy as he grows into an old man.
It’s both painful and beautiful to read. Challenging to reader to consider what it means to give, and what it means to receive.
It does speak to something very basic in the human experience. Giving and receiving love. Both painful and beautiful.
As of 2001, over 5 million copies of the book had been sold, placing it 14th on a list of hardcover “All-Time Bestselling Children’s Books” from Publishers Weekly. By 2011, 8.5 million copies of the book had been sold.
In a 1999–2000 National Education Association online survey of children, among the “Kids’ Top 100 Books,” the book was 24th. Based on a 2007 online “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children” poll by the National Education Association, the book came in third. It was 85th of the “Top 100 Picture Books” of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal. Scholastic Parent & Child magazine placed it #9 on its list of “100 Greatest Books for Kids” in 2012. As of 2013, it ranked third on a Goodreads list of “Best Children’s Books.”