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Mass Market Paperback I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Book

ISBN: 0553279378

ISBN13: 9780553279375

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

(Book #1 in the Maya Angelou's Autobiography Series)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

A phenomenal #1 bestseller that has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three years, this memoir traces Maya Angelou's childhood in a small, rural community during the 1930s. Filled with images and recollections that point to the dignity and courage of black men and women, Angelou paints a sometimes disquieting, but always affecting picture of the people-and the times-that touched her life.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Angelou's story is worth the read

Maya Angelou beautifully portrays her coming-to-age story in this book. She tells it in such a way that encapsulates the reader. There were times where I felt myself sitting beside young Angelou. "The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors and deserves respect if not enthusiastic acceptance." (p.272) Despite the adult obstacles that Angelou faced, she tells it through the eyes of her younger self. A young child ignorant of the brutal world around her. This book paints a picture of the circumstances and struggles that she faced during her formative years. In face of abandonment, racism, rape, and an early teenage pregnancy, Angelou still learns to find her voice and (in a way) sing. This is a story of the human spirit and perseverance over all obstacles. I enjoyed Maya's method of storytelling in this book. Starting off with the blissful ignorance of childhood, the book moves to the enlightenment of adulthood. Like a quilt, Maya pieced together her memories in a way that made me pause and reflect on my own memories. 5/5.

An Amazing Look at Life

Maya Angelou. An amazing Black poet and author, I saw this book on Libby and immediately borrowed it! I assumed it was her poetry, but actually it was a telling of her childhood. Her story I know must be so relatable to many Black families during Jim Crow, and yet she takes you down to the level she was at for each stage. Her memories are so clear, that I found myself more than once envious of her ability to hold so much of her history on recall. But I am so glad she did. I can't really describe this book very well, it's an honest telling of one Black woman and how she was raised. Moving around and being passed between relatives, I understood that part to a degree. But the way that she describes and weaves you into her story is incredible. Yes, she breaks the fourth wall. But it's like she is walking with you through her past and pausing to say, "See what 8 year old me thought of this?" It was especially amazing to hear it read in her voice. I loved this book. 10/10 recommend

The book was missing about 90 pages.

I enjoyed the book but could not finish it because the last 90 pages were missing.

A very moving life story

I don't remember who, but someone once said something like, "One death is a tragedy, but a thousand deaths is just statistic." This is sort of the way to describe the way I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings impacts the reader. Through her story, you can really come to understand the life of an American black female in the 1930s. From the first years of Maya Angelou's childhood, life was very difficult. Shipped away from her parents to live with her grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas, pretending for years that the reason she lived with her grandmother was because her parents were dead...then finding out that her parents were in fact alive, making it seem as if Maya was not wanted. In a segregated town full of prejudicce and injustice, Maya lives until around age 7, when she is finally taken to live with her mother. Although this may seem to be a change for the better, things take a turn when young Maya is raped by her mother's boyfriend, Mr. Freeman. When Mr. Freeman is put on trial and is later murdered, Maya believes it is her fault and stops talking. After a long time of silence, Maya meets people who will change her life forever, including Mrs. Flowers, who introduces Maya to the wonderful world of poetry. With the help of Maya's mother, Mrs. Flowers, and other influential people and situations, could Maya finally find happiness? Everyone should read this book, because it reveals the true emotions and feelings that were felt by American blacks. This book will make you cry, laugh, and run right out to buy the sequel, Gather Together In My Name.

An adult review--and one teacher's viewpoint

May I tell you why I choose to have my ninth grade students read it? I have noticed a lot of reviews by young people, which I applaud, but an adult perspective might be helpful. I don't particularly feel the need to defend its merits. (I am not articulate enough to do justice to that task.) As with any book, some will love it and some won't. Guaranteed, it will make you uncomfortable at times, because one chapter describes the rape of a young person--which is painful for any compassionate human being to hear. Plus, there are other sexual issues, largely stemming from the earlier assault, but also because she is a teenager in the last phase of the book. Such questions about love and sex are characteristic of the teenage years. Many young people, as well as adults, are confused about such topics. While these are generally the most controversial segments from the book, the fundamental lesson of the book goes far beyond the survival of one victim. I won't supply you with the answers as to what one should take away from the text. It is a personal experience for each of us. We can all learn from Maya's honest account of her childhood journey. We can all try on her experiences and live vicariously through her for a while, and see how it changes our own perspective on what it means to be a human being. I'll be the first to admit, this book is a challenge for all my students in one way or another. Some because they are white and live in the northern US. Some because they are male and it's difficult to view life through a woman's eyes. Some because of the adult vocabulary and extensive use of figurative language. Some of these experiences are so remote from their own, while others are very close to home. It helps them to see how much we actually do have in common with those who at first seem very different. They all can benefit from reading it, if they give it a chance. (Adults may be better equiped to appreciate fully this text. However, young people can take so much from it. Maybe one day, we can have an abridged version, so it is still rich in language and meaning, yet condensed so more young people can access its many gifts.) Beyond the darkness of some of those experiences (discrimination, rape, humilation and fear) lies a powerful sense of hope, dignity, determination and resilience. One of my favorite aspects of the book is its emphasis on the power of education, language and literacy. Throughout Maya's life--books, poetry, impassioned voices have all inspired her. Her autobiography is a moving tribute to a literate way of life and an enduring legacy to that tradition.

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in Banned Books Week 2022
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Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • September 15, 2022

Celebrate "the freedom to read" during the ALA's Banned Books Week. This annual event is designed to draw attention to books that have faced bans and challenges in regional areas around the US. With these challenges on the rise, it's ever more important to stand against literary censorship.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 9 Must-Read Books by Contemporary Black Authors
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