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Letter to My Daughter

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For a world of devoted readers, 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, re-read, 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

192 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1987

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About the author

Maya Angelou

187 books12.4k followers
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 nominated for a National Book Award and called her magnum opus. Her volume of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Die (1971) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

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5 stars
11,180 (40%)
4 stars
10,051 (36%)
3 stars
5,077 (18%)
2 stars
1,158 (4%)
1 star
416 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,764 reviews
Profile Image for Tamara.
1,406 reviews549 followers
October 27, 2008
Reading Maya Angelou is like getting a big hug on a bad day. She has the most comforting voice, and may be the wisest person I can think of. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Favorite Quotes:

Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking.

I remind myself it is sufficient to know what I know, and that what I know, may not always be true.

[I] try to be present and accountable for all I do and leave undone.
Profile Image for Candi.
598 reviews4,532 followers
February 10, 2017
"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 American 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."

This is a lovely series of Maya Angelou's essays dedicated to all women of the world. She shares some of her most touching life stories, divulges words of wisdom, and muses on those topics which stand as the most relevant and meaningful to her. I love her style and her humor – she was undoubtedly one classy woman who despised vulgarity and encouraged humility and simplicity. She was forward thinking, self-possessed and conveyed an attitude of hopefulness and positivity. Gosh, I know I could use an extra dose of some of these sentiments from time to time! This is the kind of book one should keep by the bedside, grab it on a bad day, and open up to a favorite passage for a bit of healing. I don't own this book, but that is exactly what I would like to do once I get my hands on my own copy. It's a quick read but also one that can be savored over a period of days as each snippet offers a distinct little lesson in life.

"The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow."
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,684 reviews2,239 followers
March 27, 2017
There’s part of me that just wants to hold onto this lovely little gem of a book, to just hold onto these words a little longer in the hopes they’ll more thoroughly permeate my soul. There’s the other part of me that wants to share her message, abounding in beauty, grief, tenderness, joy, life lessons overflowing with wisdom, faith. Most of all, her wisdom, the knowledge and understanding she shares on life; and while this book is a letter to the daughters she never gave birth to, she acknowledges the bond with these daughters of divine creation with the offering of these words.

Eighty plus years of trials and life lessons shared, only the ones she found to be useful, not her solutions ”knowing you are intelligent and creative and resourceful and will use them as you see fit.”

In prose that is so quintessentially hers, I could hear her distinctive voice saying these words "I came to understand that I can never forget where I came from. My soul should always look back and wonder at the mountains I had climbed and the rivers I had forged and the challenges which still await down the road. I am strengthened by that knowledge.”

Her spirituality is touching without being divisive, her view of the world, of people worldwide.

Of all the many things she says, shares, teaches, the words that reached in and grabbed my heart the most was in the chapter Keep the Faith

”Whenever I began to question whether God exists, I looked up to the sky and surely there, right there, between the sun and moon, stands my grandmother, singing a long meter hymn, a song somewhere between a moan and a lullaby and I know faith is the evidence of things unseen.

Highly recommended

Many thanks to my friend Candi, whose review prompted me to read this tiny book overflowing with love and wisdom. Candi’s review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,212 reviews999 followers
September 10, 2022
“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 American and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you. Here is my offering to you.”

So speaks Maya Angelou in the Preface to Letter to My Daughter, her third book of essays. The book is a slim volume, containing twenty-eight short pieces, which are titled by theme. Examples are “Philanthropy”, “Vulgarity” and “Violence”, which are full of nuggets of wisdom, couched in examples from her own experience. There are more personal memories too, such as “Mother's Long View”, “Surviving”, “In the Valley of Humility” or “Mt. Zion”. There are even specific anecdotes about the friends and people she knows, such as “Bob and Decca”, “Fannie Lou Hamer” and “Celia Cruz”. In these cases it is clear that she feels she has learned a great deal from her friendships with these people, and wishes to impart these insights she has gained. By relating an anecdote from her past, she gets our full attention. Sometimes it is even something painfully embarrassing, where she rather wishes it had not happened. In each case, she seems to hold nothing back. There is a truth which she has learned as a result, and she wishes to share it with us, her readers,

“Let's tell the truth to people. When people ask, 'How are you?' have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avoiding you because, they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don't want to know about yours. But think of it this way: If people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.”

We feel as we read this, that Maya Angelou is wise in a truly ancient sense. In earlier times, many cultures respected the elders in a tribe for their experience, and the younger people looked to them when making their own life decisions. Largely we have lost this ability; this automatic sense of respect. Too often the voices of the elders are lost. But Maya Angelou takes hold of this power again. She is both commanding and humble. She is both searingly honest about herself, and brutally matter-of-fact in her advice,

“Never whine. Whining lets a brute know that a victim is in the neighborhood.”

This slight volume from 2008 became a bestseller; many people viewing it as an inspirational book. The idea was initially sparked off in the author's mind when she was going through some old boxes of notes and papers, full of ideas for future books and poems. From twenty years' worth of notes written to her friend Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou sifted ones which she felt deserved a wider audience, as the truths in them were so universal. They should be shared,

“I am convinced that most people do not grow up ... We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias.”

The book can be read straight through, or taken as an essay a day. “Essay” is perhaps rather a grand term for what is often a personal anecdote with a bit of advice thrown in, but then the book does defy categorisation, being part memoir, part poetry and part a sort of guidebook. It is a book of advice, on how to live well, and how to live a life with meaning. It navigates the fine line between homespun philosophy and inspirational religiosity quite well. (Maya Angelou has a very strong faith.) Her skilled writing, her honest compassion, and her intriguing and many personal anecdotes means that this is an appealing read for all. Yes, she identifies and speaks strongly with a Black female voice, but this can be read with empathy, and with significant meaning, by everyone,

“All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us all that we are more alike than we are unalike.”

I do have one quibble, and this may be with the publishers. The volume is slight - 162 pages in large print. Of these, 28 are completely blank. Each essay is separated, not only by the rest of the page, plus perhaps the reverse being left blank, but in addition there is a whole extra page in between too. Since some of the pieces are only a couple of pages long in total anyway, this makes the reader feel the page-turn is far too quick. It is distracting. Surely a slim volume is exactly that? Some volumes of poetry are very slight, yet we don't feel “cheated” by the small page-count! But this feels like an attempt to bolster it up. If the publisher really felt it needed more bulk, then perhaps it could have been doubled with an earlier book, or a selection of poems.

For this reason it remains at a three star read for me, although it could well be touching four, if more essays had been included - or its presentation had been more honest.

Although this book came towards the end of her life, with just one more part of her autobiography (making seven in total) and one more book of poetry afterwards, I would recommend it as an introduction to Maya Angelou's writing, for anyone who has never read any. It is a feel-good book; not as devastating as the first part of her autobiography, nor as complex as some of her poetry. Of course much of her work has this same beautiful conversational tone. The essays or chapters seem to follow her autobiographies, at least at first. It is like a reprise of some of her life events covered in those, plus new ones. She uses them to illustrate her advice for life, and to inspire her readers. In a sense, she seems to be writing a commentary on her autobiographies. This book is a very easy, straightforward yet worthwhile read. Here is my favourite quotation,

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.”
Profile Image for sarah.
377 reviews397 followers
March 1, 2020
2020 non fiction book 2 out 12

Letter To My Daughter is a short collection of essays by Maya Angelou. Dedicated to all her ‘daughters’ around the world, it combines personal anecdotes, motivational passages and general musings about the world.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author herself and that in itself was motivational. She is undoubtably a phenomenal woman, and hearing her read to me was like getting a warm hug mixed with a pep talk.

The book started off strong, but towards the end the message seemed to get lost and murky.

My main issue with this collection was that it seemed unorganised and a fair few essays felt irrelevant. The word 'essays' glorifies some of the 2-3 page ramblings of life lessons and advice being unsubtly shoved down your throat.

There were a few memorable essays, but overall I feel like there was not my much of worth.

This next problem might just be a me thing, but for a book claiming to be for her daughters “Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish speaking, Native Americans and Aleut,” it seemed quite American-centric.

As someone who lives outside the US, I encounter this quite a bit but it doesn’t usually bother me. It makes sense, since Maya Angelou is American, that some stories would be patriotic, or aimed at her own people- but I think I was just expecting it to be more universal.

It really wasn’t that prevalent, just something that mildly irritated me, and I thought I should mention it. I might be overreacting and taking it too much to heart, but after a while it just felt as if I was being shut out of the story and the message wasn't for me. Which completely goes against the message she intended to send, so I don't know.

(Just as an example: “We must show ourselves as courteous and courageous well meaning Americans” It doesn't seem that difficult to me to extend that message worldwide, just swap it out for humans, or people etc.)

The stories that I liked- I really liked, so I definitely have the potential to like some of her other works. I’ve never read anything by Maya Angelou before, but I’ve heard good things about 'I know why the caged bird sings'- so I might try that one next!
Profile Image for Marilyn C..
278 reviews
April 10, 2017
4.5 Stars

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."

I listened to Maya Angelou, with her mesmerizing voice, read her inspiring and thought provoking words written for the daughters she never had throughout the world. This book is full of wisdom and deep insight, and you cannot help but to be moved by this woman's generous spirit.

I highly recommend listening to this book and I thought the essays were so powerful I will be purchasing a copy to own.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,686 reviews14k followers
April 6, 2016
Wisdom imparted, garnered from a lifetime of pain and joy, essays written to the daughters of the world, she had none of her own. Simply beautiful.
Profile Image for ZaRi.
2,322 reviews765 followers
Read
June 6, 2016
به این نتیجه رسیده ام که بیشتر ِ مردم بزرگ نمی شوند. ما جای پارک خودمان را پیدا می کنیم و به کارت های اعتباری مان افتخار می کنیم. ازدواج می کنیم و جرات می کنیم بچه دار شویم و به آن بزرگ شدن می گوییم. اما فکر کنم بیشترین کاری که می کنیم پیر شدن است. ما تراکم سال ها را در بدن های مان و روی صورت های مان این طرف و آن طرف می بریم اما معمولا خود حقیقی ما، کودک درون مان، هنوز بی گناه است و مثل گیاه مگنولیا خجالتی است.
Profile Image for Deacon Tom F.
1,647 reviews124 followers
February 8, 2021
Another Magnificent Maya

Once again I am blessed to read another book by this wonderful American hero. She gathers her important thoughts and concepts into a series of essays to a daughter she never had—amazing concept.

As usual her writing flows very nicely and welcomes the reader into the story. From this style the characters are easily believable.

This holiday season I have gifted myself with many Maya Angelou books. I am better for it and you will be to should you read them. My highest recommendation!!!
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
3,930 reviews2,159 followers
December 22, 2022
"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."

*Warnings for violence and abuse

I could feel the judgement in the writing towards the younger generation (like for piercings, our sense of style and fashion, appearance) while the whole book is trying to instill for acceptance of oneself and being supportive despite our choices and decisions.

Well, we aren't looking for approval from famous personalities and the learned (while I cannot say the same for them).

I find the discussion on rape/sexual assault too short, missing out on most relevant parts and as some kind of rant. I wish it focussed more on the law system, the likely victims and the consequences, the possible scenarios we must be careful about and not on why it shouldn't be socially acceptable. It isn't.


I am hugely disappointed with the book.

I felt annoyed at most parts of the book while reading it starting from the very beginning.

It's just that I do not want to indulge myself in a rant review or be too critical about someone's points of view and their lives when I do not know them, the circumstances they were in.

But I just couldn't agree with most parts of the book. It's limiting. It's not motivational for me. I was more irritated than feel the messages.

Most parts felt too incomplete. I just couldn't gain anything out of the book.
Profile Image for Dessislava.
206 reviews117 followers
June 10, 2021
На 8-годишна възраст едно чернокожо момиче е насилено сексуално от партньора на майка си. Тя разказва за това на по-големия си брат, който казва на останалите от семейството. Мъжът е арестуван, а няколко дни по-късно пребит до смърт заради извършеното. Макар и жертва в случая, момиченцето се чувства виновно за смъртта му. Смята, че нейният глас, че нейните думи са го убили. И спира да говори за няколко години.
По-късно това момиченце ще използва гласа си за десетки неща, които ще оформят света наоколо и ще дават сили на други тъмнокожи жени в исторически период, в който те имат особена нужда от това.
Разбира се, видели сте, че говоря за Мая Анджелоу, тъй като снимката със сигурност по-бързо ви е информирала, отколкото написаното дотук.
Тя е от онези писателки, за чиято липса на българския книжен пазар години наред недоумявах. По същия начин, по който не схващах липсата на Алис Уокър и Маргарет Атууд, която все пак имаше преведени няколко книги по време на началото на чуденето ми, но сред тях не намирах основните ѝ.
Това се промени с навлизането на нови български издателства, които не се страхуват да бръкнат в чувала с по-неактуално, но важни автори и да извадят от него непростимит пропуски като Анджелоу. Тя е автор, чийто живот е по-интересен от роман. И най-вероятно затова основното, за което пише, е собственият ѝ живот и произведенията ѝ са есеистично-биографични или биографични.
"Писмо до дъщеря ми" е сборник с есеистични текстове, предзназначени за "дъщерите на Аднжелоу" от целия свят. Тя е майка на син, който ражда в тийнейджърските си години (плод на първия ѝ сексуален контакт), н�� изпитва майчински чувства към всички тъмнокожи момичета и има нужда да им даде сила, кураж, смелост, вдъхновение. И тук може би дойде моето леко несъотвествие с очакванията ми.
Аз не съм чернокожо момиче и нямам нужда от насърчаване и вдъхване на смелост относно мястото ми в света на белите. Подходих с грешното очакване, че текстът ще е по-скоро настроен наистина за връзката майка-дъщеря от биологична гледна (и емоционална) гледна точка, а не толкова социална, и тъй като самата аз очаквам дъщеря, едва ли не бях готова да седна да ѝ чета на глас това писмо. Не го направих.
Текстовете са сравнително кратки, тематични и повечето от тях разказват лична история на Анджелоу, която води до житейски извод. Основната част от тях неизбежно са расово натоварени и дават на читателя по-детайлна гледна точка за живота на писателката в динамичния 20.век. Авторката има какво да разкаже и го прави с лекота и улегналост. Но без особена емоция, което обикновено не ми пречи. Дори дистанцираността и леката стерилност на стила на автора винаги са били нещо, което уважавам и харесвам. Просто в случая настройката ми преди четенето е била неправилна.
"Писмо до дъщеря ми" не е точно писмо. Смятам, че книгата е сборник с изживявания на една жена, която се надява, че опитът ѝ ще покаже на други, които са или са били в нейните обувки, че нещата могат и да се наредят, стига ти самата да се хванеш и да го направиш.
Изданието, преводът (Христина Керанова), корицата (Мила Янева-Табакова) са фини и прецизни, което не е изненадващо за книга на Издателство "Лист".
Profile Image for EJ.
170 reviews41 followers
October 10, 2008
Angelou's book, Letter to My Daughter caught my eye immediately as I was browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble. I picked it up and settled in a comfy chair with my latte and my soon to be good friend Maya. I was ready for advice, wisdom, love and experiences from a woman who has lived many more lives than I could ever imagine. Not to mention one who puts it so eloquently.

It is a craving of 20somethings to be gently advised in life from those who have already gone through the same struggles. It is especially important to 20 something women reguardless of whether we admit it or not. It is the advice that doesn't tell us how to live but more or less how not to that is needed. I am not interested in passive people and have the utmost respect for passionate, strong women(ina non-feminist way=)...which of course has lead me to Maya Angelou's work.

Letter to My Daughter highlights experiences in Maya Angelou's life that have helped shape her. They range from topics such as ignorance, racism, education, love, faith, and upbringing. I was drawn in until I realized that a good portion of the chapters were taken from another work of hers , Won't Take Nothing for My Journey Now. Which I had just finished. It wouldnt surprise me if the remaining chapters were taken from other works of her's as well. Needless to say I was a little dissapointed. I wanted something new and fresh. More or less a book directed at women..( hense the title.) I can not hold it against Angelou of course I mean...shes Maya Angelou, perhaps I am just being selfish wanting more of her words when she has published so many pieces devoted to women
Profile Image for Margarita Garova.
406 reviews160 followers
June 20, 2021
Обидно елементарно, плоско, плакатно. Авторката е била поетеса с име и силно изразена обществена позиция, но тази книга е тотално недоразумение.
Profile Image for Georgia  Zarkadaki .
399 reviews98 followers
August 15, 2018
Μου πηρε μοναχα λιγες ώρες να το διαβασω. Το λατρεψα και θα συνεχίσω και με αλλα δικα της βιβλία. Εξαιρετική συγγραφεας και με μοναδική φωνη. Σε κανει να θες να κάνεις οτι καλύτερο μπορείς, με το κεφαλι ψηλα.
Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,015 reviews919 followers
December 21, 2017
I read this book for the Diversity in All Forms book club! If you would like to participate in the discussion here is the link: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

"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."

If you haven't read one of Maya Angelou's bios then don't! You don't need to. This book , I felt, was a summary and the best parts of all her other bios combined. I really enjoyed the read and how it really got to the "point" about about her life and her experiences. A lot of the information in the book I already knew because I've read so many of her autobiographies, but I still really enjoyed the read.
Profile Image for Marnie  (Enchanted Bibliophile).
793 reviews119 followers
July 30, 2017
Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.


There is a lot of wisdom in this little book. Maya Angelou gives us live lessons of her own to help guide us and make us understand why life is sometimes cruel.
She also added some beautiful poetry that gives this book a little extra something special.

I've never read any of her work before, but after this I'm definitely adding I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to my TBR pile.
Profile Image for Hasna.
83 reviews70 followers
July 10, 2020
“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.”

Reading it felt like I was sitting in our front yard with my grandma, while she talked about the experiences that shaped her as a person and the lessons she learned along the way. 🖤

Some of my favorite quotes:

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."

"Of all your attributes, youth,
Beauty, wit, kindness, mercy,
Courage is your greatest
Achievement."


"Since life is our most precious gift
And since it is given to us to live but once,
Let us so live that we will not regret
Years of uselessness and inertia."
Profile Image for Amber.
233 reviews35 followers
November 7, 2019
"When I find myself filling with rage over the loss of a beloved, I try as soon as possible to remember that my concerns and questions should be focused on what I learned or what I have yet to learn from my departed love. What legacy was left which can help me in the art of living a good life?



Did I learn to be kinder,


To be more patient,


And more generous,


More loving,


More ready to laugh,
And more easy to accept honest tears?


If I accept those legacies of my departed beloveds, I am able to say, Thank You to them for their love and
Thank You to God for their lives."
Profile Image for Cheryl.
463 reviews581 followers
August 28, 2015
My rating of this is based on the content, voice, and my teary-eyed reading experience. Within a few hours, I was done reading this book and I felt as if Maya Angelou was sitting next to me, telling me her story, and giving me advice. She discloses a few things about her young adult (and adult) life, things relatable to most women. Admittedly, I did feel like her daughter when I read this (yes, I'm that sentimental).
Profile Image for Aleksandra Ognanoska.
75 reviews8 followers
May 12, 2021
✨ .."I have come to speak
of love of its valleys and its hills
its tremors, chills and thrills
I have come to say I love love
and I love loving love
and I, surely, love
the brave and sturdy hearts
who dare to love"..

Unfortunately, since the beginning of COVID-19 we have all felt touch-starved at some point. Hence, this oh-so-lovely book could not have come to me at a better time. Indeed, it felt like a much-needed hug. It was extremely insightful, vulnerable, and moving. If you happen to be a lover of non-fiction books, with occasional splashes of poetry here and there - this would certainly be your go-to book.

🎶 Bonus album recommendation:
Song for Our Daughter by the British singer-songwriter Laura Marling. Not only had Marling read the book (a few years before the album's release), she was greatly inspired by it as well.
Profile Image for Mohamed Khaled Sharif.
730 reviews795 followers
January 20, 2023


"يستمد جميع الفنانين العظماء من نفس المصدر: القلب البشري، الذي يُخبرنا جميعاً أننا مُتشابهون أكثر من الأشياء التي تُفرقنا."

بكلمات دافئة وجذابة ورقيقة، تكتب "مايا أنجلو" في هذا الكتاب "رسالة إلى ابنتي" شعراً ورسائل وشذرات وحكايات من حياتها، التي من الجلي أنها لم تكن بحياة عادية أبداً، فقد مرت بالعديد من المحن والصعوبات ضد التمييز العنصري تجاهها من ناحية، وضد التمييز الجندري من ناحية أخرى، تلك الجهود التي بسببها تم اختيارها كواحدة من أقوى 30 امرأة في الولايات المتحدة عام 2001.

الكتاب بمثابة عناوين جانبية أحياناً ورئيسية أحياناً عن حياتها، وأفكارها الجريئة، بسرد جميل وحكايات ستقتنص منك ضحكة أو حزن، لكن الأكيد أن هذا الكتاب سيُشجعك على قراءة سيرتها الكاملة التي كتبتها في 6 كتب، وهو ما فعله بي هذا الكتاب، جعلني أود أن أعرف عنها أكثر وأن أقرأ المزيد من كلماتها العذبة. الترجمة كانت أكثر من رائعة صراحة، كانت على قدر كلمات مايا أنجلو.

بكل تأكيد يُنصح بها.

Profile Image for Marc.
3,022 reviews1,007 followers
September 17, 2019
Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was one of the faces of the struggle for the rights of African-Americans and for women in the US (and beyond), and of course, she was also a very well known writer. I already read her most famous book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings about her traumatic childhood experiences that she turned into a battle for positive values. These life lessons more or less are also presented in this booklet, as a kind of memoires. It is a mixture of musings about life, connected with her own experiences.

This is interesting stuff, of course, but sometimes also a bit moralizing and even patronizing. Towards the end the spiritual side gains the upper hand with an ode to love and the power of faith. Because it all remains a bit superficial, and seems written rather haphazardly, without much literary merit, this booklet does not really make a lasting impression. But of course, this does not diminish my respect for Maya Angelou as a person.
Profile Image for Salema.
106 reviews15 followers
April 4, 2019
Letter to my daughter is a tribute made by Maya Angelou to all the women in the world. It is a compilation of personal stories, advices, and poetry.

Considered a strong woman figure with having an indomitable voice in social issues, she does not shy away from admitting her mistakes and shortcomings in this book. She talks about her personal struggles with love, depression, kindness, and faith. A healthy dose of humor is sprinkled throughout the book. You do not have to agree with everything she has to say but she has a voice that everyone should want to hear. I consider this a must-read.

I am never proud to participate in violence, yet, I know that each of us must care enough for ourselves, that we can be ready and able to come to our own defense when and wherever needed.
Profile Image for Hiba⁷.
846 reviews353 followers
September 23, 2017
Right now I honestly regret not having read anything by Maya Angelou before, I loved the book, every bit of it, the experiences it holds are unexpectedly inspiring, reading Maya Angelou's words is similar to being tightly embraced by a mother to all the daughters who will read this book, by having your soul soothed by these beautiful words.
A lot of wisdom in not so many pages.
Profile Image for persephone ☾.
431 reviews1,621 followers
December 2, 2021
I feel like this just wasn't for me …
The chapters were too short for me to be immersed enough, the obsession with patriotism isn’t something i’m a big fan of & some ideas discussed i don’t especially agree with.
However some stories about racism, segregation and the effects of it were interesting !
Profile Image for Rachel.
397 reviews4 followers
August 16, 2010
I guess I haven't really read Maya Angelou before so I may not have acquired the taste for her writing and the requisite knowledge of the form to understand this book. I often feel this way upon encountering poetry (adult contemporary poetry--I can handle Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein and a variety of poems we had to memorize in high school English). Though this book is mostly prose, the stylization of the prose is not my favorite (or perhaps I should say it is not in my comfort zone). The book is bite sized so I read it quickly once I started, but by the end I didn't and still don't know what to think of what I read. I didn't like it, though I am willing to be persuaded that I should have.

The book is really a series of 2-3 page writings that are each to greater or lesser extent independent from each other. The first few seemed to progress in time and together tell a story of Angelou's life. At the outset I thought I would like it because it seemed to consist of bits of empowering wisdom passed on from Angelou's life experiences. These short anecdotes I enjoyed. However, as the book progressed, the bits got less focused and I became less interested in continuing to read it. The stories or bits felt oddly disjointed and increasingly random. Then there were greater jumps in time and place and individual writings started mid-thought.
My tolerance for the book finally ended with a writing about violence in politics, "National Spirit." The piece was trope, exactly what a politician would say, meaningless nothing about how we all should be better.
I read on past this but skimmed and skipped and didn't put in much effort.
Profile Image for Erica.
1,292 reviews424 followers
March 20, 2018
I may not agree with everything Maya Angelou puts forth in this, her letter to daughters everywhere, but I wholeheartedly believe we all need a voice like hers in our lives to guide and instruct us.

This became Book Two in my inadvertent themed reading spree because I read it to directly compare with Book One, Between the World and Me. That was a letter to the author's son, this is a letter to the author's daughters, the two published less than a decade apart.

Unlike Coates' work, this one did resonate. Maya Angelou, through the way she spoke and the way she wrote, graciously offered something I think all women need and probably a lot of men do, too. I don't know what that thing is but it's like wisdom and also acceptance and also guidance and also grace and also chiding but also humor. She's by turns self-deprecatory and fierce, humble and ridiculous and in sharing her foibles, her opinions, and her moments of triumph, she instills a desire to do better but to not be so hard on oneself when better simply isn't achievable in the moment.
I am rarely inspired by authors, especially those who aim to be motivating, but Maya Angelou consistently makes me want to work at being less petty, more compassionate, stronger, more real.

I'm still angry her commemorative stamp was wrong, though.

Onward, to Book Three!
Profile Image for Bree Hill.
758 reviews574 followers
November 18, 2017
I read half of this on my e-reader and listened to the second half on audio. I don’t think any other writer could’ve put this out into the world and it have the impact on me like it did coming from Dr. Maya Angelou.

I seriously just feel like she wrote this for all women, her daughters, and it’s a Must that we all read it. Will all of the lessons reach you how they should right now..not necessarily..but put them in your back pocket for later. Nothing wrong with being prepared.
Profile Image for Anushree.
203 reviews93 followers
December 16, 2017
She has always been an inspiration in so many ways. Her 'Phenomenal Woman' and 'Still I Rise' are such liberating pieces of poetry.

"Letter to my Daughter" is a collection of short essays through which Maya Angelou wishes to address the daughters she could never have with little nuggets of wisdom that she found useful in her own life. She shares various anecdotes, sometimes with hilarious undertones and sometimes with blunt viciousness.

Raised by two strong and level-headed women, Maya Angelou herself makes for a feisty, daring woman - one who never let her vulnerability overcome her quest for living life bold and fullest.

She talks about humility, about giving back, about fighting it out, about making someone else smile, about appreciating, about gratitude, about being free. She also speaks about her opinion on 'rape', about how attributing it to a power struggle trivializes the sexual violation that it actually represents. She speaks about independence and self-reliance, about her equation with her mother and how mutual respect is all that is required for two people to survive one relation. She speaks about violence and sarcasm and vulgar humor, about how indulgence in offensive humor makes us complicit in oppression of the already weaker sections of the society, about how taking little stands can go a long way for someone else. She speaks about love and faith in the tenderest possible manner.

My favorite chapter was the one called "In Self Defense". Angelou recounts an incident about how a white woman tried to bully her and put her in place and how she had to stand up for herself because sometimes you must. You must decide where to draw the lines. You must decide where to not give in to irrational bullying. You must be able to stand up in self defense because you'd not always have someone to stand up for you. You must come to your own rescue.

There is a particularly sensitive chapter on death where she reminisces her friends and her special bond with Coretta Scott King and I'd like to quote from that chapter here -

"When I find myself filling with rage over the loss of a beloved, I try as soon as possible to remember that my concerns and questions should be focussed on what I learned or what I have yet to learn from my departed love. What legacy was left which can help me in the art of living a good life?

Did I learn to be kinder,
To be more patient,
And more generous,
More loving,
More ready to laugh,
And more easy to accept honest tears?
If I accept those legacies of my departed beloveds, I am able to say, Thank You to them for their love and Thank You to God for their lives"


In another chapter on National Spirit, she writes about America, of what it must mean to Americans, about how the educated should try to uplift the lesser privileged, in which she speaks about the necessity of intolerance towards vulgarity and more tolerance towards freedom. I believe through all my heart that what she says is befitting to any nation and it's lovers. The feeling of nationalism should be an essence of humanity and compassion and an undying but not blind love for the nation, where disappointments are worked upon collectively to strengthen the belief in one's country.

I found this little book, a package of healthy wisdom, not preached but lived through the phenomenon that was Maya Angelou, to be a beautiful and a heart-warming tribute to all the women who ever lived. A book meant for re-reads for sure.
Profile Image for Shannon.
121 reviews99 followers
June 18, 2020
My dad sent me this book when it was first released. I'm starting to think I need to drop everything I'm reading and read all of the books he's sent me, which are not nearly as close to the top of my to-read pile as they evidently should be.

This book is a love letter. It's a book that says these are the lessons that you do not have to learn for yourself. I get a little emotional when I think about it that way.

I finished it in couple of hours. When I was done, I had marked something from nearly every chapter.
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