Maya Angelou Books: 19 of her Greatest Works!

Maya Angelou Books: Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees.

Maya Angelou Books

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.

Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter 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.


The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother.

For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.

Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding, and fraught relationships, Mom & Me & Mom explores the healing and love that evolved between the two women over the course of their lives, the love that fostered Maya Angelou’s rise from immeasurable depths to reach impossible heights.

Gather Together in My Name by Maya Angelou

Gather Together in My Name continues Maya Angelou’s personal story, begun so unforgettably in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The time is the end of World War II and there is a sense of optimism everywhere. Maya Angelou, still in her teens, has given birth to a son. But the next few years are difficult ones as she tries to find a place in the world for herself and her child. She goes from job to job–and from man to man. She tries to return home–back to Stamps, Arkansas–but discovers that she is no longer part of that world. Then Maya’s life takes a dramatic turn, and she faces new challenges and temptations.

The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou has fascinated, moved, and inspired countless listeners and readers with the first three volumes of her autobiography, one of the most remarkable personal narratives of our age. Now, in her fourth volume, The Heart of a Woman, her turbulent life breaks wide open with joy as the singer-dancer enters the razzle-dazzle of fabulous New York City. There, at the Harlem Writers Guild, her love for writing blazes anew. Her compassion and commitment lead her to respond to the fiery times by becoming the northern coordinator of Martin Luther King’s history-making quest. 

A tempestuous, earthy woman, she promises her heart to one man only to have it stolen, virtually on her wedding day, by a passionate African freedom fighter. Filled with unforgettable vignettes of famous characters, from Billie Holiday to Malcolm X, The Heart of a Woman sings with Maya Angelou’s eloquent prose – her fondest dreams, deepest disappointments, and her dramatically tender relationship with her rebellious teenage son. Vulnerable, humorous, tough, Maya speaks with an intimate awareness of the heart within all of us.

Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas by Maya Angelou

In this third self-contained volume of her autobiography, which began with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou moves into the adult world. Maya struggles to support herself and her son through a series of odd jobs and weathers a failed marriage to a white man before landing a gig singing in one of the most popular nightclubs on the San Francisco coast. From there, she is called to New York to join the cast of Porgy and Bess. Maya soon finds herself on a joyous and dramatic adventure, touring abroad through Italy, France, Greece, Yugoslavia, and Egypt with spirited cast members, and performing for large, enthusiastic audiences. The exciting experience is dampened only by Maya’s nagging guilt that she has abandoned the person she loves most in life, her son, whose reentrance into her world reveals to Maya the healing power of devotion and love.

Charged with Maya Angelou’s remarkable sense of life and love, Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas is a unique celebration of the human condition–and an enthralling saga that has touched, inspired, and empowered readers worldwide.

All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou

In 1962 the poet, musician, and performer Maya Angelou claimed another piece of her identity by moving to Ghana, joining a community of “Revolutionist Returnees” inspired by the promise of pan-Africanism. All God’s Children Need Walking Shoes is her lyrical and acutely perceptive exploration of what it means to be an African American on the mother continent, where color no longer matters but where American-ness keeps asserting itself in ways both puzzling and heartbreaking. As it builds on the personal narrative of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Gather Together in My Name, this book confirms Maya Angelou’s stature as one of the most gifted autobiographers of our time.

A Song Flung Up to Heaven opens as Maya Angelou returns from Africa to the United States to work with Malcolm X. But first she has to journey to California to be reunited with her mother and brother. No sooner does she arrive there than she learns that Malcolm X has been assassinated.

Devastated, she tries to put her life back together, working on the stage in local theaters and even conducting a door-to-door survey in Watts. Then Watts explodes in violence, a riot she describes firsthand.

Subsequently, on a trip to New York, she meets Martin Luther King, Jr., who asks her to become his coordinator in the North, and she visits black churches all over America to help support King’s Poor People’s March.

But once again tragedy strikes. King is assassinated, and this time Angelou completely withdraws from the world, unable to deal with this horrible event. Finally, James Baldwin forces her out of isolation and insists that she accompany him to a dinner party—where the idea for writing I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is born. In fact, A Song Flung Up to Heavenends as Maya Angelou begins to write the first sentences of Caged Bird.

Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now by Maya Angelou

This is Maya Angelou talking from the heart, down to earth and real, but also inspiring. This is a book to be treasured, a book about being in all ways a woman, about living well, about the power of the word, and about the power of spirituality to move and shape your life. Passionate, lively, and lyrical, Maya Angelou’s latest unforgettable work offers a gem of truth on every page.

Maya Angelou speaks out . . .  

On Faith: “I’m taken aback when people walk up to me and tell me they are Christians. My first response is the question ‘Already?’ It seems to me a lifelong endeavor to try to live the life of a Christian. It is in the search itself that one finds ecstasy.”

On Racism: “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter their color.”

On Taking Time for Ourselves: “Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us. A day away acts as a spring tonic. It can dispel rancor, transform indecision, and renew the spirit.”

Even the Stars Look Lonesome by Maya Angelou

I have written of the black American experience, which I know intimately. I am always talking about the human condition in general and about society in particular. What it is like to be human, and American, what makes us weep, what makes us fall and stumble and somehow rise and go on.

The compelling wisdom and deeply felt perceptions of Maya Angelou have been cherished by millions of readers. Now, in a continuation of her bestseller Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now, she shares many of her most treasured personal experiences, reflecting on the ideas and inspirations that have touched her heart. Even the Stars Look Lonesome is a profound series of essays that explores aspects of life both big and small, with Maya Angelou serving as the unique, spellbinding guide to a powerful spiritual journey.

Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes by Maya Angelou

Throughout Maya Angelou’s life, from her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas, to her world travels as a bestselling writer, good food has played a central role. Preparing and enjoying homemade meals provides a sense of purpose and calm, accomplishment and connection. Now in Hallelujah! The Welcome Table, Angelou shares memories pithy and poignant–and the recipes that helped to make them both indelible and irreplaceable.

Angelou tells us about the time she was expelled from school for being afraid to speak–and her mother baked a delicious maple cake to brighten her spirits. She gives us her recipe for short ribs along with a story about a job she had as a cook at a Creole restaurant (never mind that she didn’t know how to cook and had no idea what Creole food might entail). There was the time in London when she attended a wretched dinner party full of wretched people; but all wasn’t lost–she did experience her initial taste of a savory onion tart. She recounts her very first night in her new home in Sonoma, California, when she invited M. F. K. Fisher over for cassoulet, and the evening Deca Mitford roasted a chicken when she was beyond tipsy–and created Chicken Drunkard Style. And then there was the hearty brunch Angelou made for a homesick Southerner, a meal that earned her both a job offer and a prophetic compliment: “If you can write half as good as you can cook, you are going to be famous.”

Renowned and beloved author Maya Angelou returns to the kitchen—both hers and ours—with her second cookbook, filled with time-tested recipes and the intimate, autobiographical sketches of how they came to be. Inspired by Angelou’s own dramatic weight loss, the focus here is on good food, well-made and eaten in moderation. When preparing for a party, for example, Angelou says, “Remember, cooking large amounts of food does not mean that you are obligated to eat large portions.” When you create food that is full of flavor, you will find that you need less of it to feel satisfied, and you can use one dish to nourish yourself all day long.
 
And oh, what food you will create! Savor recipes for Mixed-Up Tamale Pie, All Day and Night Cornbread, Sweet Potatoes McMillan, Braised Lamb with White Beans, and Pytt I Panna (Swedish hash.) All the delicious dishes here can be eaten in small portions, and many times a day. More important, they can be converted into other mouth-watering incarnations. So Crown Roast of Pork becomes Pork Tacos and Pork Fried Rice, while Roasted Chicken becomes Chicken Tetrazzini and Chicken Curry. And throughout, Maya Angelou’s rich and wise voice carries the food from written word to body-and-soul-enriching experience.

Maya Angelou

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 daring vision of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose childlike style reveals the powerful emotions and fanciful imaginings of childhood. Together, Angelou’s words and Basquiat’s paintings create a place where every child, indeed every person, may experience his or her own fearlessness.
Celebrating its successful 25 years in print, this brilliant introduction to poetry and contemporary art features brief, updated biographies of Angelou and Basquiat, an afterword from the editor, and a fresh new look. A selected bibliography of Angelou’s books and a selected museum listing of Basquiat’s works open the door to further inspiration through the fine arts.

Maya Angelou

Full color photographs. “Hello, Stranger-Friend” begins Maya Angelou’s story about Thandi, a South African Ndebele girl, her mischievous brother, her beloved chicken, and the astonishing mural art produced by the women of her tribe.  With never-before-seen photographs of the very private Ndebele women and their paintings, this unique book shows the passing of traditions from parent to child and introduces young readers to a new culture through a new friend.

Maya Angelou

With full-color photographs. Now in paperback, My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me is the enchanting story of an eight-year-old girl named Thandi, her village, her mischievous brother, her best friend–a chicken–and the remarkable mural art that is produced by the Ndebele women. With over seventy photographs of the reclusive Ndebele women and their breathtaking paintings, My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me documents the passing of traditions from parent to child while introducing young readers to a new culture through a new friend. “Angelou’s prose, like the art, is unlike what you’ve seen before” (Chicago Tribune). “Poet Angelou’s impish narrative and Margaret Courtney-Clarke’s ravishing photos create an entrancing vision….” (Entertainment Weekly). To be published simultaneously with Kofi and His Magic, a new hardcover collaborative effort by Angelou and Courtney-Clarke.  

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s poetry – lyrical and dramatic, exuberant and playful – speaks of love, longing, partings; of Saturday night partying, and the smells and sounds of Southern cities; of freedom and shattered dreams. ‘The caged bird sings/ with a fearful trill/ of things unknown/ but longed for still/ and his tune is heard/ on the distant hill/ for the caged bird/ sings of freedom.’ Of her poetry, KIRKUS REVIEWS has written, ‘It is just as much a part of her biography as I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS, GATHER TOGETHER in MY NAME, SINGIN’ AND SWINGIN’ AND GETTING MERRY LIKE CHRISTMAS, and HEART OF A WOMAN.

Maya Angelou

Throughout her illustrious career in letters, Maya Angelou gifted, healed, and inspired the world with her words. Now the beauty and spirit of those words live on in this new and complete collection of poetry that reflects and honors the writer’s remarkable life.
 
Every poetic phrase, every poignant verse can be found within the pages of this sure-to-be-treasured volume—from her reflections on African American life and hardship in the compilation Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ’fore I Diiie (“Though there’s one thing that I cry for / I believe enough to die for / That is every man’s responsibility to man”) to her revolutionary celebrations of womanhood in the poem “Still I Rise” (“Out of the huts of history’s shame / I rise / Up from a past that’s rooted in pain / I rise”) to her “On the Pulse of Morning” tribute at President William Jefferson Clinton’s inauguration (“Lift up your eyes upon / The day breaking for you. / Give birth again / To the dream.”).

Maya Angelou

These four poems, “Phenomenal Woman,” “Still I Rise,” “Weekend Glory,” and “Our Grandmothers,” are among the most remembered and acclaimed of Maya Angelou’s poems. They celebrate women with a majesty that has inspired and touched the hearts of millions.
 
These memorable poems have been reset and bound in a beautiful edition—a gift to keep and to give.

Maya Angelou

This memorable collection of poems exhibits Maya Angelou’s unique gift for capturing the triumph and pain of being black and every man and woman’s struggle to be free. Filled with bittersweet intimacies and ferocious courage, these poems are gems—many-faceted, bright with wisdom, radiant with life.