100 books for America: I Know Why The Caged Baird Sings

With 92 days until the election, let us continue looking at the 100 books every American should read. These write-ups will be short and not incredibly comprehensive looks at some books and novels that will help you become a better citizen. Check out all of the books that have been picked.

You can’t help but be in absolute awe of Maya Angelou. If someone tells you she is the greatest American writer, it’s hard to argue against them. The woman concurred prose and poetry, plays and screenwriting.

She’s also one of few Great Americans who become more inspiring and human as you hold her up for closer inspection.

She’s just intensely fascinating. When someone tells you she was the first African American woman to conduct a street car in San Francisco, you think, “That’s nest.” When someone tells you she was a civil rights activist who worked directly with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, you think, “That’s impressive.” When you find out her books were the inspiration for Banned Books Week, you think “That’s wild.”

Angelou is most famous for her first memoir, the groundbreaking “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.”

It’s a beautifully and brutally honest book about her childhood, from the age of three until she gave birth at 16.

Of course, it is regularly challenged because it doesn’t hide from some of the awful aspects of Angelou’s early life.

One of the reasons Angelou is so valuable to the American experience is the clarity of her prose.

“Without willing it, I had gone from being ignorant of being ignorant to being aware of being aware. And the worst part of my awareness was that I didn’t know what I was aware of. I knew I knew very little, but I was certain that the things I had yet to learn wouldn’t be taught to me at George Washington High School.

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

She’s hitting an important idea without losing the reader.

Angelou’s writing, particularly in “Caged Bird” is immensely powerful.

The country can always use strong voices, especially in times like these, so if you haven’t picked up one of her books, now is your chance.


Previously, we looked at a book about American Freedom. Up next, a book about how one of those freedoms was expanded.

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