Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 9 - 12Grades 6 - 12n/a6.778384
Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Her life story is told in the documentary film And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS’s American Masters.

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.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.”—James Baldwin
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published on February 22, 1995 by Heinemann Educational Publishers
ISBN-10: 0435124277
ISBN-13: 9780435124274
1 Book Review
  • momo_here
    momo_herealmost 8 years44 stars
    This book is very intriguing. It makes you ponder race and racial injustice. It is good for ages 12 and up, because of the controversial topics (Rape, lesbiansim, etc...) But it is a very emotional read that just may change your point of view.