Shel Silverstein struggled to publish "The Giving Tree".
The book’s somber themes made it a hard sell. One editor at Simon & Schuster described it as “too sad” for kids and “too simple” for adults, while another editor called the titular tree “sick” and “neurotic”. Some publishers were moved by the story, but ultimately felt it was too risky for the genre.
After four years of searching for a publisher, Silverstein finally found a home for the book at Harper Children’s, when editor Ursula Nordstrom recognized its potential.
Ultimately, it became a classic among children books with more than 10 million copies worldwide.