I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Penguin Random House Audio

Narrated by Maya Angelou

10 hr 11 min
8

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
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin Random House Audio
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Published on
Jan 4, 2011
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Duration
10h 11m 46s
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ISBN
9780307879387
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / African American & Black
Biography & Autobiography / Literary Figures
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
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Export option
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Eligible for Family Library

Listening information

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For a world of devoted fans, a much-awaited new volume of absorbing stories and inspirational wisdom from one of our best-loved writers.

Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Told in her own inimitable style, this book transcends genres and categories: guidebook, memoir, poetry, and pure delight.

Here in short spellbinding essays are glimpses of the tumultuous life that led Angelou to an exalted place in American letters and taught her lessons in compassion and fortitude: how she was brought up by her indomitable grandmother in segregated Arkansas, taken in at thirteen by her more worldly and less religious mother, and grew to be an awkward, six-foot-tall teenager whose first experience of loveless sex paradoxically left her with her greatest gift, a son.

Whether she is recalling such lost friends as Coretta Scott King and Ossie Davis, extolling honesty, decrying vulgarity, explaining why becoming a Christian is a “lifelong endeavor,” or simply singing the praises of a meal of red rice–Maya Angelou writes from the heart to millions of women she considers her extended family.

Like the rest of her remarkable work, Letter to My Daughter entertains and teaches; it is a book to cherish, savor, and share.




“I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish speaking, Native Americans and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you.”

–from Letter to My Daughter


Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission  to reprint previously published material:

Mari Evans:  Excerpt from “I Am A Black Woman” from I Am A Black Woman by Mari Evans (New York:  William Morrow, 1970).  Reprinted by permission of Mari Evans.

Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. and Harold Ober Associates:  “I, Too” and “Dream Variations” from The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes, edited by Arnold Rampersad with David Russell, Associate Editor, copyright © 1994 by the Estate of Langston Hughes.  Rights in the United Kingdom are controlled by Harold Ober Associates.  Reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates.

Melvin B. Tolson, Jr. c/o The Permissions Company:  Excerpt from “Dark Symphony” from Rendezvous With America (New York:  Dodd, Mead, 1944).  Originally published in Atlantic Monthly (September, 1941), copyright © 1941, 1944 by Melvin B. Tolson and copyright renewed 1968, 1972 by Ruth S. Tolson.  Reprinted by permission of Melvin B. Tolson, r. c/o The Permissions Company, www.permissionscompany.com.
For a world of devoted fans, a much-awaited new volume of absorbing stories and inspirational wisdom from one of our best-loved writers.

Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Told in her own inimitable style, this book transcends genres and categories: guidebook, memoir, poetry, and pure delight.

Here in short spellbinding essays are glimpses of the tumultuous life that led Angelou to an exalted place in American letters and taught her lessons in compassion and fortitude: how she was brought up by her indomitable grandmother in segregated Arkansas, taken in at thirteen by her more worldly and less religious mother, and grew to be an awkward, six-foot-tall teenager whose first experience of loveless sex paradoxically left her with her greatest gift, a son.

Whether she is recalling such lost friends as Coretta Scott King and Ossie Davis, extolling honesty, decrying vulgarity, explaining why becoming a Christian is a “lifelong endeavor,” or simply singing the praises of a meal of red rice–Maya Angelou writes from the heart to millions of women she considers her extended family.

Like the rest of her remarkable work, Letter to My Daughter entertains and teaches; it is a book to cherish, savor, and share.




“I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish speaking, Native Americans and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you.”

–from Letter to My Daughter


Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission  to reprint previously published material:

Mari Evans:  Excerpt from “I Am A Black Woman” from I Am A Black Woman by Mari Evans (New York:  William Morrow, 1970).  Reprinted by permission of Mari Evans.

Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. and Harold Ober Associates:  “I, Too” and “Dream Variations” from The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes, edited by Arnold Rampersad with David Russell, Associate Editor, copyright © 1994 by the Estate of Langston Hughes.  Rights in the United Kingdom are controlled by Harold Ober Associates.  Reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates.

Melvin B. Tolson, Jr. c/o The Permissions Company:  Excerpt from “Dark Symphony” from Rendezvous With America (New York:  Dodd, Mead, 1944).  Originally published in Atlantic Monthly (September, 1941), copyright © 1941, 1944 by Melvin B. Tolson and copyright renewed 1968, 1972 by Ruth S. Tolson.  Reprinted by permission of Melvin B. Tolson, r. c/o The Permissions Company, www.permissionscompany.com.
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