Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou: A Review


I spent time this weekend reading and reviewing lots of new picture books. This one is definitely a favorite.

Title: Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

Author: Bethany Hegedus

Illustrator: Tonya Engel

Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.

Rise! is a remarkable book about a remarkable woman, Maya Angelou. Bethany Hegedus’s lyrical language written as poetry flies off the page, creating perfect images that take us from knowing Maya as a young child to her roles as performer, writer, mother, and activist. The complications and dark times of Maya’s life are treated respectfully and serve to help us understand how much she had to overcome. The exquisite craft of the writing coupled with the illustrations of words swirling across many pages of the book are a celebration of language in itself. They remind us of the important role words played in Maya’s life: “…the twisting, turning/conga line of language/that pulses across the page.”

The book opens with a touching tribute from Maya Angelou’s grandson and concludes with an author’s note, a timeline, additional resources, and photographs.

This is a book that will touch your heart and soul and be a reminder that Maya Angelou’s words “…will always rise/rise/rise.”

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