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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Unabridged / Go to Abridged Audiobook

Written By: Maya Angelou

Narrated By: Maya Angelou

Publisher: Random House (Audio)

Date: January 2011

Duration: 10 hours 12 minutes


Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Her life story is told in the documentary film And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS’s American Masters.

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.
Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.
Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.”—James Baldwin


  • Robin Schultz

    What a life! Maya Angelou is a role model! Why look to the celebrities today for who to be like? When we have this amazing women! She has an incredible talent to remember what happened to her as a kid. And such vivid memory for her. A must read! I can't wait to to read her other books!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Sandra T.

    Why did I wait so long to read this?! I might add, hearing it read by Mya Angelou gave it a deeper dimension than reading the written word. I , however, would find it still a wonderful, valuable piece of literature

  • Charles B


  • Sharon W

    Loved it. I didn't want the book to end. While the stories don't necessarily flow together as in some books, they portrait they weave provokes deep emotion and thoughtful contemplation.

  • Thomas Forrest

    A very captivating memoir. Maya Angelou perfectly portrays the desired tone of her life story. The listener can see the transformation all throughout the book as Angelou grows older, and even as she reads aloud the very story she penned revealing her childhood struggles to the world.

  • Cardon Slater

    I didn't want the story to end. This novel was amazing , sad, and courageous. R.I.P Maya Angelou.

  • Marilyn Fox

    Excellent narrative poetically written with detailed description that is spellbinding. Interesting and very sad story revealed by Maya Angelou of the discrimination of Afro Americans in the south during that time. Narrated by the author herself made it even more compelling.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

by Maya Angelou

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou