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Letter to My Daughter Paperback – October 27, 2009

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Letter to My Daughter + I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings + The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Trade Paperback Edition edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812980034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812980035
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (254 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“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

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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Customer Reviews

A beautiful book by Maya Angelou.
Life is short, but your truthful and inspiring words will live forever in the hearts of many!
I bought this book as a present for a friend who just loves to read!
Dani H.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

206 of 212 people found the following review helpful By Story Circle Book Reviews on October 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"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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77 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Janet Autherine on November 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By R. Gregersen on 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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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Y. C. Steele on December 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Best yet ever by Maya Angelou!
This book is for the daughters who have experienced weakness for a man that you know is not good for the soul; for the daughters who find that love for a child is undescribable in that you love them passionately like nothing else in the world no matter what they do; for the daughters that have experienced emotional and physical abuse at the hands of someone that says they "love you" (GET OUT after you have a plan in place); for the daughters that have found her true soulmate (oh what a joy it is).

Read A Letter to My Daughters and buy a copy or 500 for your closest friends at Christmas or birthday.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert N. Sanders on November 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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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