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Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem

4.7 18
by Maya Angelou

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In this beautiful, deeply moving poem, Maya Angelou inspires us to embrace the peace and promise of Christmas, so that hope and love can once again light up our holidays and the world. “Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers, look heavenward,” she writes, “and speak the word aloud. Peace.”

Read by the poet at the lighting of the


In this beautiful, deeply moving poem, Maya Angelou inspires us to embrace the peace and promise of Christmas, so that hope and love can once again light up our holidays and the world. “Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers, look heavenward,” she writes, “and speak the word aloud. Peace.”

Read by the poet at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House on December 1, 2005, Maya Angelou’s celebration of the “Glad Season” is a radiant affirmation of the goodness of life and a beautiful holiday gift for people of all faiths.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
Knowing the widely varied styles the illustrators have used in the past, I was eager to examine their choices for Angelou's inspiring poem. They met the daunting task with great imagination, inspired talent, and spiritual grace suitable for the intent of the poem. First read at the White House Tree Lighting Ceremony in 2005, Angelou's welcome to the Christmas season is the expression of a community's joining in a celebration of peace. Angelou's hope for a "community" coming together in a moment of unified acceptance of the idea of living peacefully together is a reflection of her own hopes for the entire world. Her words of hope, peace, and understanding are perfectly complemented by the scenes of a small town's procession toward a "market square gathering" of people of all ethnicities and beliefs. Candlelight shines in the beautiful faces of the population as we follow one particular family as it passes the street musician, the artist at the Glass Art shop, the children building snowmen, the shoppers in the streets—each time obviously inviting everyone to join them in their trek to the center of town. The final scene shows everyone standing together in a shining moment of universal understanding and peace. The illustrations are a marvelous incorporation of oils, acrylics, and the use of textured fabrics—melded together in a perfect echo of Angelou's stirring words. The colors are softly muted but glowingly alive—the depth of the textures and the saturation of the colors give the pictures a "touchable" reality that invites the reader right into the charming scenes. There is much to discuss and think about in this collaboration of exceptional artistry and powerful poem.Hearing Angelou read the poem on the enclosed CD is a very moving experience—a stroke of genius on the part of the publisher. Add this title to every collection—public or personal. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan
School Library Journal

Gr 3 Up

This poem was largely inspired by the terrible natural disasters occurring throughout the world when Angelou was invited to read at the 2005 White House tree-lighting ceremony. Thus, the opening lines rumble and roil almost menacingly to illustrate the climate of doubt and anxiety into which the spirit of Christmas arrives. Hope enters as a whisper and grows until it is "louder than the explosion of bombs." The harsher aspects of the world fade as people of all faiths and races join together in trust and brotherhood. Johnson and Fancher's paintings, rendered in oil, acrylic, and fabric on canvas, elegantly depict a calm, snow-blanketed village where children play, families shop, and artisans ply their crafts. People gather at the Town Hall for sweets and cocoa, and then, in a candlelight procession, join again to sing beneath the stars. This is a comforting book that gets to the heart of what Christmas should mean. As an added treat, Angelou reads the poem on the accompanying CD.-Linda Israelson, Los Angeles Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Angelou's poem considers peace as a joyous concept that rises up during the Christmas season, drawing in and including those of all faiths, sweeping everyone along with its power. This visual interpretation of the poem follows the residents of a small town as they trek through deep snow to gather at their town hall for a holiday celebration. Although there are lighted Christmas trees throughout the town, this particular celebration is a nondenominational community dinner and candle-lighting, with people of many faiths and backgrounds joining together in peaceful solidarity. Johnson and Fancher's understated, mixed-media illustrations use fabric scraps for plaid and checked coats on the townspeople, with darker fabrics for buildings and thick brushstrokes of white paint over cloth for the snow. Although doubtlessly well-intended, the author's invitation to Buddhists, Confucians, Jains, Jews and Muslims-not to mention "Nonbelievers"-to join in the celebration of "the Birth of Jesus Christ / Into the great religions of the world" is at best tone-deaf and at worst frankly assimilationist. (Picture book/poetry. 6 & up)
From the Publisher
Holiday Roundup, USA TODAY, December 4, 2008

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Maya Angelou was raised in Stamps, Arkansas. In addition to her bestselling autobiographies, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Heart of a Woman, she wrote numerous volumes of poetry, among them Phenomenal Woman, And Still I Rise, On the Pulse of Morning, and Mother. Maya Angelou died in 2014.

From the Hardcover edition.

Brief Biography

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Date of Birth:
April 4, 1928
Place of Birth:
St. Louis, Missouri
High school in Atlanta and San Francisco

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Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was so very touched when Maya read this poem at the lighting of the national christmas tree on December 1, 2005. It was truly a special moment for our country. What a wonderful and meaningful Poem.It still brings tears to my eyes every time I read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will do grace
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For camp amazingness
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This poem has become my favorite contemporary poem. It is incredibly moving, and speaks in a very relevant fashion, which brought me to tears. "Amazing Peace" is an extraordinary gift from Ms. Angelou to the collective soul of our world. My only criticism of the publication, is that I would like to see it enhanced with some meaningful illustration.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The message in this book is beautifully written and beautifully illustrated. Most of all, it is beautiful because the message of peace, acceptance and love for all people at all times is so current now, as it has been always.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought a copy of this book for a family member who loves Maya Angelou, and decided to get another next year for our family... I'm looking forward to beginning a new Christmas tradition, take a few minutes to read it aloud every year. I hope it'll become, for us, a lovely quiet few minutes in what's often an overly-busy day to focus on what we celebrate.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Maya Angelou, world-renowned poet, philanthropist, and humanitarian, brings to vivid life the true meaning of Christmas. Her poems are not the simple rhyming ones of many children's books, but rather a meshing of words that go straight to the heart.

"Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you to stay awhile with us
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.

On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other."

Although this is a perfect book to share with your children at Christmas, I believe it would make an excellent addition to your home library to share as a family, again and again, no matter the time of year. The message that it sends - one of love, tolerance, diversity, and peace - is one that all children can learn from, regardless of the date on the calendar.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I heard Maya Angelou read this poem on Oprah and found myself with tears streaming down my cheeks. It has great relevance to our world today and has an amazingly strong spirit.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Maya Angelou uses eloquence and her innate sensitivity and love for humanity to ring out a song for peace during this holiday season. Once again, she speaks for all mankind with her unifying words encompassing and crossing all boundaries. Her spirituality touches your soul, even in the darkest night.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This poem is so true for todays world. Maya Angelou has done it again, she has captured what the world needs in a poem. A must read for the holidays.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Maya Angelou's amazing words make for perfect reading at holiday gatherings. Her inspiration is what this old world desperately needs.