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Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

By: Bethany Hegedus

Illustrator: Tonya Engel

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, this beautiful biography of Maya Angelou describes how she rose above a childhood of trauma and emotional pain to become one of the most inspiring voices of our lifetime.

Writer, activist, trolley car conductor, dancer, mother, and humanitarian - Maya Angelou's life was marked by transformation and perseverence.  In this comprehensive picture-book biography geared towards older readers, Bethan Hegedus lyrically trances Maya's life from her early days in Stamps, Arkansas through her work as a freedom fighter to her triumphant rise as a poet of the people.

Foreword by Colin Johnson. Time line with photographs. Author’s note with resources. Selected bibliography. Quotation sources. Full-color illustrations were rendered in acrylic and oil paint.

ISBN: 9781620145876

JLG Release: Sep 2019


Sensitive Areas: Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism, Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape, Violence: Mild Violence
Topics: Maya Angelou (1928–2014) , African American women authors , The American South , Performing arts , Poets and poetry , Biography

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Awards & Honors

Rise: A Feminist Book Project 2020 Top 10 List
NCTE’s 2020 Notable Poetry List

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal*, The Horn Book Magazine

School Library Journal

Maya Angelou overcame an utterly terrifying childhood experience that left her temporarily mute. Despite these challenging circumstances, she went on to accomplish so much. Yet her success may have had a completely different outcome had she not had the love and support of a few key people who helped her turn fear into courage. The author includes a Maya Angelou overcame an utterly terrifying childhood experience that left her temporarily mute. Despite these challenging circumstances, she went on to accomplish so much. Yet her success may have had a completely different outcome had she not had the love and support of a few key people who helped her turn fear into courage. The author includes a surprising amount of information in this picture book biography, especially given its sparse, narrative verse. The rich language conveys the emotions Angelou felt at different times in her life, ranging from terror to jubilance. The publisher has suggested the target audience as ages 7-10 and grades 4-6. This distinction is important to note because the story touches on specific events that may require additional explanation from an adult if the child is in that younger age category. For example, on the page that addresses the traumatic rape Angelou endured as a child, Hegedus writes: “One day, Maya, left alone with Mr. Freeman, is anything but free. After a visit to the hospital, Maya calls out Mr. Freeman’s name as the one who hurt her. Mr. Freeman spends only one night in jail. Later, he is found crumpled behind the slaughterhouse. Maya falls silent, scared her voice struck him dead.” The illustrations, done in acrylic and oil on textured paper, are luscious and colorful and expand on the beautifully written text. Back matter includes a time line of Angelou’s life, additional resources, and references. An important and powerful addition to any biography collection.

Horn Book

In propulsive free verse and vibrant illustrations, Hegedus and Engel present the life and legacy of Maya Angelou (1928–2014). The book opens with three-year-old Maya and her brother traveling alone by train from St. Louis to live with their paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. There they find stability and love, yet also injustice: “Hate In propulsive free verse and vibrant illustrations, Hegedus and Engel present the life and legacy of Maya Angelou (1928–2014). The book opens with three-year-old Maya and her brother traveling alone by train from St. Louis to live with their paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. There they find stability and love, yet also injustice: “Hate and love, / love and hate: / the seesaw of the South.” When Maya is six they return to St. Louis, where she is “hurt” by her mother’s boyfriend (the appended timeline specifies sexual abuse). She returns to Stamps, mute, and eventually finds solace, first in books, then in “the power of the spoken word.” Angelou survived childhood anguish to thrive and to triumph, becoming a per¬former, dancer, journalist, activist, poet, mother, and humanitarian. Engel’s warm, swirling acrylic and oil paintings illustrate the various moods of the story, from the anticipation of journey and discovery to the looming shadow of the young girl’s abuser to the passionate work of the civil rights movement—and the meta¬phorical cage Angelou finds herself in after tragedy. The thoughtful back matter includes a detailed biographical timeline, photographs, an author’s note, websites of sexual assault organizations, selected bibliography, and quotation sources about this “phenomenal woman.”

Book Details

ISBN

9781620145876

First Release

September 2019

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

B

Trim Size

8 x 10

Page Count

48

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.9; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 6.2; Points: 3;

Lexile

Level 900L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Lee & Low

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism, Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape, Violence: Mild Violence

Topics

Maya Angelou (1928–2014), African American women authors, The American South, Performing arts, Poets and poetry, Biography,

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