I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

“Few, if any, survive their teens. Most surrender to the vague but murderous pressure of adult conformity. It becomes easier to die and avoid conflicts than to maintain a constant battle with the superior forces of maturity.”

– Pg. 267

This book. I learned, cried, and was amazed by Maya’s telling of her young life. She lived through so many historical time periods which she weaves into her personal and vulnerable narrative.

Maya’s sentences are breathtakingly beautiful; clearly, she is a poet. I love her direct, honest and poetic way of presenting tragedy through story. Her palpable love for people and her honesty of the discrepancy between white and black taught me more about African Americans than any other book I’ve read.

This autobiography is so personal and unafraid. Maya addresses sexual abuse, family dysfunction, and coming of age with grace and honesty.

I first heard Maya Angelou’s voice in an interview with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. I was on my morning run through the neighborhood; her beautiful voice, confidence, and wisdom have rooted inside me and even now I can recall them.

Additionally, Amanda Gorman, our first youth poet laureate, wore a ring of a caged bird when she performed her iconic poem at the 2021 inauguration. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – because she was meant to. Because it’s what she was made to do. Because even when she is not free, her voice will be.

Maya has changed the world.