I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Her life story is told in the documentary film And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS’s American Masters.

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.
 
Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.
 
Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.”—James Baldwin

Maya Angelou was raised in Stamps, Arkansas. In addition to her bestselling autobiographies, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Heart of a Woman, she wrote numerous volumes of poetry, among them Phenomenal Woman, And Still I Rise, On the Pulse of Morning, and Mother. Maya Angelou died in 2014.

One of the most beloved and enduring works by one of America’s greatest poets, Angelou’s autobiography details her struggles with racism and sexual abuse in her childhood. It has been challenged repeatedly since its original publication. In 2021, an Alaskan school removed it from their curriculum for “sexual content” and “anti-white messaging.”

ISBN: 9780345514400

ISBN-10: 9780345514400

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: 04/21/2009 - 12:00am

On Sale: 04/21/2009 - 12:00am

Pages: 304

Language: English

Categories

Biography & Autobiography / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / African American & Black

Biography & Autobiography / Literary Figures

Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs