Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

by Patricia Kirkpatrick, John Thompson

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Editorial Reviews

These two new Voices in Poetry series entries, William Shakespeare and Maya Angelou, are a stunning treat for the eye. The first, William Shakespeare, is an appealing mix of biography and poetry that beckons the reader with well-chosen illustrations and gorgeous photographs from Swiss photographer Marcel Imsand. Interspersed with the biography of Shakespeare are appropriate selections from his plays and poetry. Also included are explanations about the life and history of the period and some of his famous contemporaries. Kirkpatrick's Maya Angelou is equally attractive, also melding biography and poetry with memorable visual images. Artist John Thompson creates evocative illustrations for the excerpts of Angelou's writing that capture the heart of each piece. Also included are photographs both of Angelou and of the dramatic time in which she has lived. The sheer beauty of these books will lure browsers, and the succinct and interesting writing will prove useful to the report writer. The selections from the writings are excellent choices and in combination with the outstanding illustrations will surely create new admirers of these two literary giants. These two series titles join books on Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, and E. E. Cummings, among others. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Creative Education, 48p.; Illus. Photos., Ages 11 to 18.
—Lynn Rutan
Children's Literature
"I believe all things are possible for a human being, and I don't think there's anything in the world that I can't do." These words truly express the philosophy of one of America's most remarkable public people. Despite much hardship and oppression in her own life, Maya Angelou has been able to help African Americans and people of all races through her poetry, her writing, and her other work to believe that anything is indeed possible if one tries hard enough. Born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri in 1928, Maya Angelou lived with her grandmother for some years. Living in Stamp, Arkansas during the Depression under the laws of segregation was a true hardship and yet it also had its bright moments, and it gave Maya Angelou a rich tapestry of stories to write about. Later, Angelou and her brother went to live with their mother. Traumatized by a tragic event, Angelou did not speak for five years, but she did continue to read and to do her schoolwork. Angelou got pregnant while still a teenager in school; undaunted she finished her education and got work. She then went to New York to become a dancer and her performing career began. It was because of her work in the performing world that she became interested in writing and thence, in writing poetry. With excerpts from her prose writings as well as her poems, we are given a wonderful picture of events in Maya Angelou's life. Angelou describes a time when the cotton is ready to be picked and she is in her grandmother's store; we are taken to the place and time when Angelou worked for the SCLC and when she met Martin Luther King; we are there when she and her son arrive in Africa. It is clear that the author has a deep and abidingrespect and admiration for Maya Angelou and that she wants to share the gifts and achievements of this extraordinary woman with us. This the author does, and we are left with a strong urge to go and read one of Angelou's books. Throughout author Kirkpatrick's book there are photographs of the poet, her family, and places of significance to her story. Illustrations in pencil and in color accompany the poems and the excerpts from Angelou's books. In the back of the book the reader will find a list of the poems and the prose used in the book, the dates they were written and an index. This book is one of nine books in the "Voices of Poetry" series. 2004, Creative Education, Ages 12 up.
— Marya Jansen-Gruber
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-These slim volumes offer objective introductions to the lives and literature of two well-known writers. The appealing formats and brief, informative texts feature one- to two-page, chronologically arranged "chapters," each detailing an important period in the featured figure's life. Alternating with these informational pages are examples of poetry and excerpts from Shakespeare's plays and Angelou's autobiographical writings. In Shakespeare, the text is accompanied by portraits, engravings, title pages, and large tinted photographs of roses by noted Swiss photographer Imsand. Angelou is illustrated with Thompson's finely executed realistic drawings and paintings, most of them in oil pastel; sepia-toned historical photos; and black-and-white photographs. The clearly presented message in each of these books shows that Shakespeare and Angelou have much in common. Although neither acquired a college education, both had the desire and self-assurance to pursue their creative talents. More detailed information about these two poets can be found in Sarah E. King's Maya Angelou: Greeting the Morning (Millbrook, 1994), Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema's Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare (Morrow, 1992), and Peter Chrisp's Shakespeare (DK, 2002).-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Creative Company, The
Publication date:
Voices in Poetry Series
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

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