Read Women discussion

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou's Autobiography, #1)
This topic is about I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
53 views
Previous Reads: Non-Fiction > I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Louise, Group Founder (new)

Louise | 680 comments Mod
Happy 2018!

Our first non-fiction read of the new year is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (from wikipedia)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a 1969 autobiography about the early years of American writer and poet Maya Angelou. The first in a seven-volume series, it is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma. The book begins when three-year-old Maya and her older brother are sent to Stamps, Arkansas, to live with their grandmother and ends when Maya becomes a mother at the age of 16. In the course of Caged Bird, Maya transforms from a victim of racism with an inferiority complex into a self-possessed, dignified young woman capable of responding to prejudice.

Angelou was challenged by her friend, author James Baldwin, and her editor, Robert Loomis, to write an autobiography that was also a piece of literature. Reviewers often categorize Caged Bird as autobiographical fiction because Angelou uses thematic development and other techniques common to fiction, but the prevailing critical view characterizes it as an autobiography, a genre she attempts to critique, change, and expand. The book covers topics common to autobiographies written by Black American women in the years following the Civil Rights Movement: a celebration of Black motherhood; a critique of racism; the importance of family; and the quest for independence, personal dignity, and self-definition.

Caged Bird was nominated for a National Book Award in 1970 and remained on The New York Times paperback bestseller list for two years. It has been used in educational settings from high schools to universities, and the book has been celebrated for creating new literary avenues for the American memoir. However, the book's graphic depiction of childhood rape, racism, and sexuality has caused it to be challenged or banned in some schools and libraries.


Kairia This was one of the first books I read in 2017. I'm curious to see what everyone thinks of it.


Monica (sweetclementinewine) | 1 comments I'm really enjoying it so far!


Laurie I read this last year in an effort to read more books by women of color. It was heartbreaking and moving in so many ways. Angelou's writing made me feel like I was right there experiencing the events with her family. I can't imagine living through some of the events that she lived through. I need to read the remaining books which make up her autobiography.


Kairia Laurie wrote: "I need to read the remaining books which make up her autobiography."

Yes. I need to do the same as well.


Karin I have read this twice, and will pass on reading it a third time. It was most powerful to me the first time I read it when I was 16 (because it was the first time and I was younger, etc). That said, it's an important read!


back to top