In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou repeatedly acknowledges the mentors who helped her develop her inner strength and love of learning: Her grandmother, whom she called Momma, provided moral backbone as wll as unswerving care and sacrifice. A sophisticated neighbor, Mrs. Flowers, uses her love of literature to help Maya overcome a trauma and rediscover her own voice. A special teacher, Miss Kirwin, inspires Maya's love of learning and gives her a rare glimpse at a world where achievement is rewarded fairly, with no regard for race.
Parents need to know that the first volume in poet Maya Angelou's autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is a poignant and poetic account of the author's life up until age 17. Named for the caged-bird image that Lawrence Dunbar used in his poem "Sympathy," the book honestly reveals the cruelty, indignity, and injustice that confined African Americans in the 1930s and '40s -- the cage -- but also celebrates black people's spirit, humor, and courage. Reading Dunbar's poem may offer further insight into this book. Nominated for a National Book Award, this autobiographical work is strong, honest, and beautifully written, but it details some very upsetting personal incidents, including the rape of a very young girl, shocking racial prejudice, and gritty urban life, so it may be too disturbing for preteens. Angelou also wrote the screenplay for a of the book.
Unforgettable Did I enjoy this book: In honor of the recently departed poet, artist, singer, activist, and beautiful soul, Maya Angelou, I’m offering this review of one of my all time favorite stories. I Know Why the Caged Bird sings is unforgettable. Angelou doesn’t just tell stories she changes lives. She touches souls. And she reshapes our nation for the better. In this book she deals with literacy, persistence, personal dignity, and success against impossible odds. I love how she tells a story of survival without anger, blame, or excuses. It’s hard to comprehend how she’s able to write with such honesty about topics that, when this book was released, were hardly spoken of in private much less public. "While I was writing the book, I stayed half drunk in the afternoon and cried all night.” Yet she kept writing. And readers of all generations are better off because she did. God bless you, Maya Angelou. Rest in peace. Would I recommend it: Absolutely. As reviewed by Belinda at Every Free Chance Book Reviews.
In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first autobiographical book by Maya Angelou, the acclaimed author gives readers a profound education about the lives of black people in the American South during the 1930s. Angelou not only reveals the ways she and the other African-American citizens of Stamps, AK, were constantly degraded, demoralized, and threatened by whites, but she also places them in historical context and reflects poignantly on the effects these experiences had on her self-image. Other educational details include descriptions of the differences between black and white schools at that time, a bit about life in 1930s St. Louis, and a good deal about the neighborhoods and race roles in World War II-era San Francisco.
Maya Angelou begins her autobiographical I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings with reflections about growing up black and female during the Great Depression in the small, segregated town of Stamps, Arkansas.