Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Marguerite Annie Johnson. She was born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. Little did she know, she would grow up to become one of the most famous poets and writers in the world. You might know her better as Maya Angelou.
Maya Angelou’s childhood was filled with many challenges. Her parents separated when she was young, and she had to move to a small town in Arkansas to live with her grandmother. When Maya was just eight years old, she faced a terrible event that left her speechless for five years. During this time, she found solace in reading books and writing in her journal.
Finding Her Voice
Maya eventually found her voice again and discovered the power of words. She knew that she wanted to use her voice to tell stories, make people think, and bring hope to others. So, she changed her name to Maya Angelou and started her journey as a writer and a poet.
Maya Angelou wrote many poems, but she is perhaps best known for her collection of poetry called Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie, published in 1971. Her poems often talked about love, hope, and the strength of the human spirit. She had a special way of writing that made her words come alive and touch the hearts of people who read them.
One of her most famous poems is “Still I Rise.” It’s a powerful piece about overcoming obstacles and finding the strength to keep going, no matter what challenges you face. Another well-known poem is “Phenomenal Woman,” which celebrates the beauty and power of being a woman.
For Young Readers
Maya Angelou also wrote books and poems that were specially created for younger readers. One of her children’s books, Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, combines her poetry with paintings by famous artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. This book encourages kids to face their fears and believe in themselves.
Another children’s book by Maya Angelou is My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me. It’s a charming story about a young girl in South Africa who loves her colorful house and her pet chicken. This book shows the beauty of different cultures and the importance of friendship.
Maya Angelou passed away on May 28, 2014, but her words and wisdom continue to inspire people all over the world. She once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” By sharing her stories and her poetry, Maya Angelou made us feel stronger, braver, and more hopeful.
Now it’s your turn to pick up one of her books or read one of her poems. Let the words of Maya Angelou inspire you to find your own voice and share your stories with the world.