For a world of devoted fans, a much-awaited new volume of absorbing stories and inspirational wisdom from one of our best-loved writers.
Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Told in her own inimitable style, this book transcends genres and categories: guidebook, memoir, poetry, and pure delight.
Here in short spellbinding essays are glimpses of the tumultuous life that led Angelou to an exalted place in American letters and taught her lessons in compassion and fortitude: how she was brought up by her indomitable grandmother in segregated Arkansas, taken in at thirteen by her more worldly and less religious mother, and grew to be an awkward, six-foot-tall teenager whose first experience of loveless sex paradoxically left her with her greatest gift, a son.
Whether she is recalling such lost friends as Coretta Scott King and Ossie Davis, extolling honesty, decrying vulgarity, explaining why becoming a Christian is a “lifelong endeavor,” or simply singing the praises of a meal of red rice–Maya Angelou writes from the heart to millions of women she considers her extended family.
Like the rest of her remarkable work, Letter to My Daughter entertains and teaches; it is a book to cherish, savor, and share.
“I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish speaking, Native Americans and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you.”
–from Letter to My Daughter
Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission to reprint previously published material:
Mari Evans: Excerpt from “I Am A Black Woman” from I Am A Black Woman by Mari Evans (New York: William Morrow, 1970). Reprinted by permission of Mari Evans.
Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. and Harold Ober Associates: “I, Too” and “Dream Variations” from The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes, edited by Arnold Rampersad with David Russell, Associate Editor, copyright © 1994 by the Estate of Langston Hughes. Rights in the United Kingdom are controlled by Harold Ober Associates. Reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates.
Melvin B. Tolson, Jr. c/o The Permissions Company: Excerpt from “Dark Symphony” from Rendezvous With America (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1944). Originally published in Atlantic Monthly (September, 1941), copyright © 1941, 1944 by Melvin B. Tolson and copyright renewed 1968, 1972 by Ruth S. Tolson. Reprinted by permission of Melvin B. Tolson, r. c/o The Permissions Company, www.permissionscompany.com.
Maya Angelou was raised in Stamps, Arkansas. In addition to her bestselling autobiographies, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Heart of a Woman, she wrote numerous volumes of poetry, among them Phenomenal Woman, And Still I Rise, On the Pulse of Morning, and Mother. Maya Angelou died in 2014.