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Letter to My Daughter [Kindle Edition]

Maya Angelou
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (277 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $8.99
You Save: $6.01 (40%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

For a world of devoted readers, a much-awaited new volume of absorbing stories and inspirational wisdom from one of our best-loved writers.

Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Told in her own inimitable style, this book 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.

“I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish speaking, Native Americans and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you.”

–from Letter to My Daughter

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From the mellifluous voice of a venerable American icon comes her first original collection of writing to be published in ten years, anecdotal vignettes drawn from a compelling life and written in Angelou's erudite prose. Beginning with her childhood, Angelou acknowledges her own inauguration into daughterhood in "Philanthropy," recalling the first time her mother called her "my daughter." Angelou becomes a mother herself at an early age, after a meaningless first sexual experience: "Nine months later I had a beautiful baby boy. The birth of my son caused me to develop enough courage to invent my life." Fearlessly sharing amusing, if somewhat embarrassing, moments in "Senegal," the mature Angelou is cosmopolitan but still capable of making a mistake: invited to a dinner party while visiting the African nation, Angelou becomes irritated that none of the guests will step on a lovely carpet laid out in the center of the room, so she takes it upon herself to cross the carpet, only to discover the carpet is a table cloth that had been laid out in honor of her visit. The wisdom in this slight volume feels light and familiar, but it's also earnest and offered with warmth.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“It’s a book to give to one’s daughter, mother, son or father, but definitely one to be read and savored.”—Baltimore Sun

“Sound advice, vivid memory and strong opinion . . . What is clear is that [Maya] Angelou is, all these years later, still a charmer, still speaking her mind.”—Washington Post Book World

“A slim volume packed with nourishing nuggets of wisdom . . . Overarching each brief chapter is the vital energy of a woman taking life’s measure with every step.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Written in Angelou’s beautiful, poetic style, the essays feel like warm advice from a beloved aunt or grandmother, whose wisdom you know was earned.”—Fredericksburg Free Lance—Star

“Spellbinding . . . Angelou delivers with her signature passion and fire. . . . Each [essay] delivers a powerful message.”—Rocky Mountain News

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 604 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (September 23, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001GJ2QBU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,544 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
208 of 214 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely inspiring; I couldn't put it down October 10, 2008
"I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian and Spanish-speaking, Native American and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you," writes Maya Angelou in the introduction of her inspirational new book Letter to My Daughter. The following pages are full of stories and life lessons Angelou has learned over eighty years. "I have only included here events and lessons which I have found useful," the famous poet writes. "I have not told you how I have used the solutions, knowing you are intelligent and creative and resourceful and will use them as you see fit."

There are few books that I love so much I would read again. This is one of them. I got Angelou's Letter to My Daughter in the mail around 4 p.m. and finished it before bed. I read it to my children as they played, read it after they had gone to sleep, and far into the evening hours. Angelou's words were so poetic and musical I felt as if she were speaking directly to me. I learned of her best and worst moments in life, her ideas about love, death, violence, patriotism and spirituality. I really liked how she illustrated an important situation in her life without telling the reader what to take away from the scene.

My favorite story was when Angelou visited the famous actress Samia in Sengal. Angelou had heard that women in Egypt did not let their guests walk on their gorgeous Persian rugs and decided to test her hostess. She noticed the other guests at Samia's party were not stepping on the rugs and believed Samia had informed them not to do so. So Angelou walked on them, back and forth, back and forth. The other guests smiled at her weakly.
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80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read, be inspired and be courageous! November 14, 2008
This is the perfect book! At only 166 pages, it is short but every single page is filled with interesting stories and valuable advice. I recently read a quote that said, "Timid women don't make history." Maya Angelou lives her life boldly and with courage and has been making history for many decades. There are too many inspiring stories to mention them all but below are some of the lessons that I will carry with me as a source of inspiration.

* You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
* Be certain that you do not die without having done something wonderful for humanity.
* Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
* Never whine. Whining lets a brute know that a victim is in the neighborhood.
* Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking and you might find a new solution.
* Be charitable. Being charitable doesn't always involve a monetary gift; you can be charitable with a smile and a kind word.
* Kids make mistakes; its ok to love them through it
* When you are genuinely proud of your children, you give them permission to be proud of themselves.
* Miracles can happen through prayer.
* When people ask, "How are you?" have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully.
* A friend may be waiting behind a stranger's face.
* Each of us must care enough for ourselves, that we can be ready and able to come to our own defense when and wherever needed.
* You are never too old to find true love.

Ms. Angelou advises that Courage is our greatest attribute. Read, enjoy, be inspired and be courageous!
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reference guide to life October 12, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wonderful book - it was a quick read with several short stories. I want to know more, more, more....what happened after lessons - Maya tells you the story, but not her lesson learned. I also almost see it as a testament of her life and her goodbye book - you feel the wisdom, age, and desire to pass it on before it's too late. As soon as I finished it, I started reading it again....I think this book will become a reference guide of sorts for me.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Same Stories February 28, 2009
This was not a terrible read, but certainly deja vu. I've read all these stories in one form or another somewhere else. I expected this advice for "daughters", to be about lessons that Angelou want to pass on the women. Instead, the book is a memoir which is broken into small short stories. I enjoyed reading the stories (again) but i felt duped. the recyling of these stories is not what i'd expect from Angelou. I wanted something fresh and new; this book did not deliver.
For the reader who has never read Angelou's novels, these stories will be refreshing and wonderful.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prose, Poetry and More! November 15, 2008
I have never heard of or read the writings of anyone with the honesty and creativity of the one who penned this book. Yes, I knew she was creative because I heard the poem she wrote for Bill Clinton's inauguration. Yes, I knew her presence on that platform meant she walked with, even if she didn't keep company with, the elite and powerful. But it was only when I read this book that I knew her humility and grandeur as a human being and poet. Her biography says she is more -- a cook, a funeral 'preacher,' professor, musician, accomplished linguist -- in short, to purloin her words, "a national spirit." Maybe even "a national treasure" worth so much that Fort Knox would have to risk poverty!

If you ever start, I am willing to wager that you will finish this book in open-mouthed wonder and will try to put it aside to savor this feast of words strung together like pearls in a necklace. Even when you are sated -- with, maybe, a full stomach or belly, as she would have said, of "glistening red rice," you are still going to hold the words in your mind and heart and mouth since all three will be so full that receiving more will be impossible.

If you are getting my drift by now then you are probably guessing that I am recommending it. But I am not. I'm suggesting that you run to the nearest bookstore, even if it is 5 miles away, buy "Letter to My Daughter," sit down at the nearest spot and read, read, read!!! That's all I have to say.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 7 days ago by mollie A. Phillips
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Love it!
Published 16 days ago by Nekeia
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
AWESOME!!! Highly recommend reading and sharing
Published 19 days ago by mamaj2many
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it
Very well written, I enjoyed it inmensly
Published 22 days ago by jose isaak
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, not her Greatest
Maya Angelou has done better than this. I believe it was an attempt to offer some little pearls of wisdom, but I appreciated "Caged Bird Sings" much more.
Published 1 month ago by Nancy H. Marshall
2.0 out of 5 stars the title was misleading! it was tidbits of her ...
the title was misleading! it was tidbits of her life ! were she visited people she met etc not really that enjoyable ! disapointment
Published 1 month ago by Vernon c
5.0 out of 5 stars A life changing book. I rank Maya with Gandhi ...
A life changing book. I rank Maya with Gandhi and MLK.
Published 1 month ago by Mary Newcome Hatch
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Maya will be with me thru my life . I her books and wisdom dairy
Published 1 month ago by helen
4.0 out of 5 stars Life's Lessons
Everything about the book is inspiring.
I feel compelled to be better and do meaningful acts of kindness.
I loved Maya's definition of philanthropy.
Published 1 month ago by Sharon Reel
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
This is a good read. Definitely a great gift for a recent high school/college graduate!! A book of life lessons.
Published 1 month ago by Vessel
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More About the Author

Maya Angelou has been waitress, singer, actress, dancer, activist, filmmaker, writer and mother. As well as her autobiography she has written several volumes of poetry, including 'On the Pulse of the Morning' for the inauguration of President Clinton. She now has a life-time appointment as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

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She's offering what she would say as her condolences to any one who has lost a loved one--the first paragraph is about the loved one's death. (I had to read it twice myself--it's not quite a poem, yet not quite prose, either).
Jan 5, 2009 by M. Jones |  See all 2 posts
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