Maya Angelou: Journey of the Heart (Rainbow Biography)

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9780140383591: Maya Angelou: Journey of the Heart (Rainbow Biography)

Poet, writer, activist, entertainer, professor: Maya Angelou is all of these. Her remarkable story includes a childhood trauma, a leading role in an opera, her activism in the civil rights movement, and her devotion to poetry, writing, and teaching to promote the cause of all African-Americans. Based in part on Maya's autobiography, this is the inspiring story of an extraordinary woman.

"Pettit makes [Angelou's] stirring story accessible...while retaining a strong sense of Angelou's personal voice. -- Booklist

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-8?This interestingly told account begins on the steps of the Capitol Building in 1993, as Angelou recites her inaugural poem, "On the Pulse of the Morning." Drawn from her subject's autobiographies, Pettit then details the childhood journeys of Marguerite Johnson and her brother from California to their grandmother's home in Stamps, AR; to their mother's hometown of St. Louis, MO; back to Stamps; and then, following their mother's remarriage, to San Francisco. During these first 17 years of Angelou's life (which account for half of the text), readers learn of her rape at age 8 and the subsequent murder of her assailant, her ensuing silence, and her teenage pregnancy and single motherhood. These events are told in a straightforward but compassionate way. The rest of the book is devoted to Angelou's professional development and achievements, as well as her personal relationships. The final chapter summarizes the past 30 years. Disappointingly, only a handful of black-and-white photographs are included. Nonetheless, this is a short, readable biography.?Marilyn Makowski, Greenwood High School, SC
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Gr. 5^-7. The best parts of this biography are those about Angelou's childhood and youth that draw on the classic I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970), the first and greatest of her five autobiographies. Pettit makes that stirring story accessible to middle-grade readers, while retaining a strong sense of Angelou's personal voice. It's an account of childhood trauma (including rape) overcome with the help of family and community. The other parts of Pettit's biography are more distant, with too much reverential rhetoric about "the value of survival and the beauty of creativity." In the chapter on Angelou's time in Ghana, there's little sense of the complexity Angelou felt about displacement and home. What will grab readers are the people from Stamps, Arkansas: Angelou's beloved older brother and her grandmother and the woman who read to the traumatized child from Dickens and helped her to find her own ringing voice. There are black-and-white photos in the center of the book. Clear chapter notes will make it easy for kids to go from here to I Know Why. Hazel Rochman

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