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Life Doesn't Frighten Me
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Life Doesn't Frighten Me

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  1,143 ratings  ·  152 reviews
"Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn't frighten me at all”

Maya Angelou's brave, defiant poem celebrates the courage within each of us, young and old. From the scary thought of panthers in the park to the unsettling scene of a new classroom, fearsome images are summoned and dispelled by the power of faith in ourselves.

Angelou's strong words are matched by the
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 6th 1996 by Harry N. Abrams (first published February 6th 1993)
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Dymond Life and the craziness that comes with it. That's what see want us to see that there is nothing to be scared of.

Community Reviews

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Fa Orozco
Este poema de Maya Angelou llena de fe y esperanza; las pinturas de Basquiat que lo acompañan son precisas para expresar todo aquello que Angelou enlista, todo a lo que no tiene miedo. El contraste de esperanza del poema con lo oscuro y turbio del trabajo de Basquiat es super interesante.
Este libro es bastante de nicho, para amantes de poesía, arte o libros ilustrados.
Petra Eggs
Sep 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The poem might not frighten you, but Basquiat's pictures might. I don't know who wrote the blurb for the book, but the pictures are far from childlike, as anyone who is familiar with Basquiat's art would know. The book is ostensibly a children's book but I bought it as an art book and cannot imagine a child who would actually enjoy these harsh, self-referencing pictures. Basquiat had always lived it up on drugs and alcohol, but limited means bought limited supplies. The bounty that was fame and ...more
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an inspired coupling of the powerful words of Angelou and the striking paintings of Basquiat. Angelou gives us a simple poem about fears, bravery and ultimately about finding the fearlessness and faith in ourselves - words which are here matched and enhanced by the childlike and vivid style of Basquiat's art.

It's a mix of words and images that is powerful and intelligent as well as being both accessible and engaging.
To check out my reviews:

I read this book a few years back and loved the simplicity of the poem and the beautiful artwork of Jean-Michel Basquiat. I discovered his artwork while I was in high school and I remember telling artist about him and they didn't have a clue who he was let alone his artwork.

Then I picked up this book again because I saw the democratic convention and saw this politician and he referenced Maya Angelou poem in his speech which I disliked
Eva Leger
Aug 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: julias-books
As soon as Julia saw the "dinosaur" on the cover I knew we'd be checking it out of the library. I didn't even bother looking at the author, title, or flipping through it because I knew I'd be in for the fight of my life so we just took it.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw who the author was when we finally picked it up to read it.
Now about the book. Julia wasn't too thrilled to find out her dinosaur was really a dragon but she said it was going to be "a T-Rex just for me" so we picked ours
Dec 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Rauf by: Chris Rock
Shadows on the wall, noises down the hall. Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Bad dogs barking loud, big ghosts in a cloud. Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Mean old Mother Goose, lions on the loose. They don’t frighten me at all
Dragons breathing flame on my counterpane. That doesn’t frighten me at all.
I go boo, make them shoo
I make fun, way they run
I won’t cry, so they fly
I just smile, they go wild
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.
Tough guys fight, all alone at night. Life doesn’t frighten me at all.
Sam Grace
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is intense. Even though the poem is written as if from a child's perspective, that does not mean that it is light or easy. It is dark, and the paintings are dark. It is scary. I do not know what reaction a child might have to this (though I will certainly read it to my eventual hypothetical child - maybe not RIGHT before bed though ...), but I like the strength and vulnerability present in it. The awareness of the dangers of the world, of the reality of those dangers, and the commitmen ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Life Doesn't Frighten Me - Maya Angelou, Jean-Michel Basquiat (Illustrator) I really can't imagine that I would have cared much for the art of Basquiat if the editor hadn't done such a fabulous job of pairing the words with the pictures. The result feels like a close collaboration, rather than an after-the-fact pairing. Nice back matter, for those who care, too.And a shout-out to my local librarians who always find new books to tempt me with in their displays, even when I'm in  bit of a reading ...more
Apr 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
As a picture book for children, this combination of a poem by Maya Angelou and artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat blends beautifully. The poem is one that children (or anyone) can easily identify with--confronting our demons, the challenges of the world. And Basquiat was a master at depicting demons.

As much as the book itself, the biographies of these two artists at the end reflect both the difficulties and the triumphs each faced and lived, the universal in the individual.
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I am fan of Maya Angelou's writing and Basquiat's art but their "collaboration" in the form of this book doesn't work all that great in my opinion. Mostly because there seems to be a big mismatch between Maya Angelou's positive/uplifting poem and the darker themes of Basquiat's paintings (the latter are not appropriate for many younger kids). Good try though...
Laura Motush
May 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book incorporates the art of writing and the art of creating paintings. Maya Angelou wrote a poem for kids and Jean-Michel Basquiat created paintings to go along with the poem. This is a great example of art and writing coming together, and can be used in both a young classroom or an older classroom to teach students how they can incorporate images and words.
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
i love this book! the juxtaposition of the beautiful words and violent art is amazing. i use it in clas at the beginning of the year and give each kid a "magic stone" to keep them safe at times they may feel frightened.
Marjorie Ingall
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grownups
Dramatis personae:

Jo, a teenage babysitter
Ellie, a 3-year-old.

Jo: Let's read this one!
Ellie: No. That looks scary.
Jo: Well, let's give it a try?
[begins reading]
Shadows on the wall, noises down the hall. Life doesn’t frighten me at all.
Bad dogs barking loud, big ghosts in a cloud. Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Ellie: This is a bad book. These pictures are scary.
Jo: Should we stop?
Ellie: Yes. No.
Jo: [finishes reading]
Ellie: That was a very bad book. Who is that lady? [points to author photo]
Mary Adeson
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 2018-read
For those days when you need to remind yourself 'Life doesn't frighten me"!

A collection of poems reminding children and adults to be aware of your fears, but don't let them paralyse you.

When you combine two iconic people, words by Maya Angelou and art Jean-Michael Basquiat you're onto to a winner.

A teacher could do great things with this!
Emily Duchon
Basquiat did the illustrations for this. Delicious.
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was a poem. It has rhymes and it flowed. The book was about what someone would be frighten of. But the things mentioned did not seem to scare the character, the author. It seemed like they have courage or bravery since they were not frightened by what others would be.

The illustrations were very abstract in this book. Many of the illustrations were in a dark tone color or in bright color. When the picture was white the page was black and when the illustration was colorful, the page was
Shawna Vinovich
Nov 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is engaging and has really neat artistic illustrations for students in kindergarten through first grade. It goes through different scenarios that could happen to people in life and how life doesn’t frighten them at all. I could use this book when teaching about emotions. How it is okay if certain things are freighting, but also teach them how to be brave and how to overcome their fears to make them not frightened anymore.
Katelyn Krigbaum
Life Doesn't Frighten Me is a poem about fearlessness. It describes the things that people can be afraid of but it also brings a sense of bravery to it as well. Through this book, children will be able to see that they can overcome their fears. The illustrations are child-like however, it can appeal to children so that they can better relate to it through the illustrations. Overall, this is a great book for children to read and finish it feeling empowered.
Feb 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, picturebooks
Life may not frighten me, but I must admit that many of Basquiat's paintings leave me feeling unsettled. I love Maya Angelou's poem though, and I think the combination of paintings and stanzas is good.
May 03, 2012 added it
Love this book...this message...this woman
Nov 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: art, poetry
love the poem, but i think the art would have terrified me when i was a kid
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-lit
Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou, paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat
Additional Poetry Selection

I loved the idea behind the book! Some of the thoughts I had while reading include: the abilty of being able to stand strong, and have no fears is something that is so important to instill in young children! Being fearless is a trait that I do not find often in young kids. This book allows for students that read this, to think about their fears and why they are a fear.

The illustrations of thi
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Life Doesn’t Frighten Me is a poem about being courageous in light of things that might be scary in life such as snakes or unfriendly classmates. The speaker of the poem does not let these things frighten her because she has a magic charm up her sleeve. This poem speaks highly of the power of bravery that can be found inside all of us.

This book is a great introduction to poetry and art for young students. Maya Angelou’s strong words are paired with Basquiat’s contemporary art in order to create
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books to use in a New York City classroom. A perfect pairing of a wonderful and poignant poem from Maya Angelou with the magnificent and approachable paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a native New Yorker. Children seem to love the elevated simplicity of the paintings, and are always extremely eager to recreate the format of paintings and poetry after we have read it. It serves as a great introduction to poetry, especially around halloween when we start to talk and think about ...more
Aaron Siclovan
Nov 20, 2014 rated it liked it
This book describes some fears that people experience, especially children. Many children have night-time fears such as shadows on their walls and strange noises. After each of the many fears mentioned is the verse, "life doesn't frighten me at all." The author mentions the barking of bad dogs, lions, dragons, tough guy, new classrooms, snakes, and many things that creep into children's minds to frighten them. The last page repeats the line of the poem-"life doesn't frighten me at all.

Jean Mich
Anjanette Avila
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Tough guys fight
All alone at night
Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don’t frighten me at all.
Don’t show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I’m afraid at all
It’s only in my dreams.
Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all.
Dragons breathing flame
on my counterpane.
That doesn't frighten me at all.

I like this poem. I think it shows children not to be a
Brenda Shufelt
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
The words and pictures might be scary (at first) for a child but then the triumph comes. It's a good book to read to a child and then let them explore on their own.
Victoria Moore
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
"Life Doesn't Frighten Me," a children't book based on the poem by Maya Angelou with paintings by Jean Michel-Basquiat is an elegantly simple piece of literature with a strong message. Considering all of the things children are faced with today that can frighten them, from bullying, to school shootings, natural disasters, war and poverty, this book is an excellent way to teach children how to confront fear and not be overwhelmed by it.
Perfectly matched by Basquiat's paintings the lines from th
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
#SEL #fear #strength - not sure whether I should put this in the "picture books for older children" section or just the normal picture book section - while the text is triumphant, the illustrations are quite dark and disconcerting. I wouldn't want cute but ...
Mar 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, multicutural
"Shadows on the wall, noises down the hall, Life doesn't frighten me at all." Maya Angelou hits home with this dark but real book. The pages are black written with white letters. The illustrations are abstract paintings by Jean-Michel Basquial.It is a picture book but the words and the message can be read by students in any age. Students can interpret her words any way they want. It is a great discussion book by asking students what they are afraid of. It opens many doors and possibilities. I wo ...more
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Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Ann Johnson April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, was an American poet, memoirist, actress and an important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement. In 2001 she was named one of the 30 most powerful women in America by Ladies Home Journal. Maya Angelou is known for her series of six autobiographies, starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, (1969) which was ...more
“I’ve got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve,
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.”
More quotes…