Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People
Book cover
Author(s): Bethany Hedegus
Illustrator(s): Tonya Engel
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Copyright Year: 2019
ISBN/ISSN: 9781620145876
Review

This is a picture book biography of Dr. Maya Angelou that follows her life from birth in 1928 in Missouri to her 2014 death in North Carolina. It is the life of a poet rendered in poetry and accompanied with beautiful illustrations. The reader will find colorful acrylics that the illustrator matches to the changing mood and seasons in Angelou's life: dark colors during times of grief and bright colors during happier periods. Traumatic situations that include Angelou's sexual abuse by her mother's boyfriend and the deaths of Malcom X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are written about so as to invite more discussion, but the events are not explained in graphic detail. This biography can be used as a model text for the classroom. Students can research poets (or other influential literary figures) and write poems about their lives, then create their own picture book biography. Before reading this picture book, have students listen to some of Dr. Angelou's poetry so that they are familiar with some of her famous works before reading about them in the book. There is a forward by Angelou's grandson, Colin Johnson, a timeline of Angelou's life with captioned photographs, and a note from the author with resources pertaining to sexual abuse. There is a selected bibliography for further reading, as well as quotation sources for the quotes included throughout the book. An excellent Teacher's Guide has been made available from Lee & Low Books: https://www.leeandlow.com/books/rise.

Reviewer: Valerie Byrd Fort, Library Media Specialist, New Providence Elementary School, Lexington, SC
Rating: Highly Recommended
Grade (as stated by Reviewer/SLC): 3-8
Review Date: October 1, 2019
Product Description
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, this beautiful biography of Maya Angelou describes how she rose above a childhood of trauma and emotional pain to become one of the most inspiring voices of our lifetime.

Writer, activist, trolley car conductor, dancer, mother, and humanitarianMaya Angelou's life was marked by transformation and perseverance. In this comprehensive picture-book biography geared towards older readers, Bethany Hegedus lyrically traces Maya's life from her early days in Stamps, Arkansas through her work as a freedom fighter to her triumphant rise as a poet of the people.

A foreword by Angelou's grandson, Colin A. Johnson, describes how a love of literature and poetry helped young Maya overcome childhood trauma and turn adversity into triumph. Coupled with Tonya Engel's metaphorical and emotive illustrations, this biography beautifully conveys the heartaches and successes of this truly phenomenal woman, and is a powerful tribute to the written word.
Media Type: Book, eBook
Binding: HC
# Pages: 48
Price: $20.95
Genre: Nonfiction
Sub-Genre: Biographies
Entry ID: 2226428

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