5 Books to Read for Dr. Maya Angelou’s Day of Reading

Dr. Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist who is celebrated by people in many communities. She published a variety of work including 7 autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and tv shows over a period of 50 years. She is considered to be one of the most consequential figures in the 20th century because of her achievements and ability to inspire many.

Maya Angelou is an amazing woman in history, and if you don’t know much about her, I recommend doing your research. Whether you are new to the works of Angelou or a long-time admirer, in honor of her birthday today and as part of her Day of Reading, here are 5 books by Maya Angelou that you should read!

 

 

1. Rainbow in the Cloud

 

 

Synopsis:

In this collection of sage advice, humorous quips, and pointed observations culled from the author’s great works, including The Heart of a Woman, On the Pulse of Morning, Gather Together in My Name, and Letter to My Daughter, Maya Angelou’s spirit endures. Rainbow in the Cloud offers resonant and rewarding quotes on such topics as creativity and culture, family and community, equality and race, values and spirituality, parenting and relationships. Perhaps most special, Maya Angelou’s only son, Guy Johnson, has contributed some of his mother’s most powerful sayings, shared directly with him and the members of their family.

 

2. Mom & Me & Mom

 

 

Synopsis:

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.

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.

 

3. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me

 

 

Synopsis:

“Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn’t frighten me at all”

Maya Angelou’s brave, defiant poem matched with the daring art of Jean-Michel Basquiat 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 paired with 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.

 

4. Great Food, All Day Long

 

 

Synopsis:

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.

Throughout, Maya Angelou’s rich and wise voice carries the food from written word to body-and-soul-enriching experience. Featuring gorgeous illustrations throughout and Angelou’s own tips and tricks on everything from portion control to timing a meal, Great Food, All Day Long is an essential reference for everyone who wants to eat better and smarter—and a delightful peek into the kitchen and the heart of a remarkable woman.

 

5. Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing

 

 

Synopsis:

Lyrical and cadent, dramatic and sometimes playful, these poems speak of love, longing, parting; of freedom and shattered dreams; of Saturday-night partying and the smells and sounds of Southern cities.

 

 

Synopses via amazon
in-text images via amazon
featured image via The pairs review