Maya Angelou

Did you know that Maya Angelou wrote a children’s book?  She did, back in 1994.  I have been reading her book to my preschoolers long before I really knew of her.

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I was always drawn to her quote in the introduction of the book:

To all the children, for they are the hope of humankind.

Yes!  This statement was so profound, so direct, and so right.  It crawled under my skin and made me think.  Hard.  Every time I read the book, I read the quote.

My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken and Me


The story of a child in South Africa, her family, and her best friend, a chicken.  Maya tells a tale that is engaging to children and full of interesting facts.  She manages to weave words that are as powerful as they are simple:

All children are hope for their families, and many Ndebele girls are named Hope.  If you like, you can call yourself Hope, too.  In secret, of course.

Many years after finding and reading this book, I stumbled across Maya Angelou’s powerful words.  She says things with few, well chosen words that make a difference.  She is an ember that lights a fire.  These are her words that made a difference for me:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Diversity, Peace, picture books, reading aloud, Teaching young children and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Maya Angelou

  1. I love this post! Maya Angelou is so great in so many ways! 😍

  2. Adam Morris says:

    That’s so true… I remember so few details about what people said, but I never forget how being with them made me feel!

    • Jennie says:

      Yes! These words seem to steer me the right way. And, they’re like dominos; the more I think about how others feel, the more I change to be a person that thinks about others first. Thank you for that, Maya!

  3. Norah says:

    All of those quotes are significant. I love Maya Angelou’s words. I remember reading her book for children, but I don’t think I own it. I think I read it in the American Museum of Natural History’s bookshop when I visited there last year. And I left it there! How could I? I think I’d already bought too much to bring home. Now I can order it to fly to me. Thanks for the reminder. The last quote about feelings reminds me of your most recent post. You, and she, are inspirational.

  4. sportsattitudes says:

    “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – My favorite quote from them all. Rare to find a quote of hers I don’t like however. I think that’s a fair “trade-off” having people only recall how one made them feel!

  5. Shelley Grove says:

    I love this book, as well! I read it to my class every time I do a unit on Africa. It is a great story to expose children to another culture and it opens up endless ideas in creative art!

  6. She was an amazingly wise woman and had such a way with words!

  7. I love her work but did not know she wrote a children’s book. Not surprised though.

  8. I didn’t know she wrote a children’s book, Jennie. Thanks for letting me know. She was a wonderful poet and human being ❤

  9. reocochran says:

    This is a lovely share for me, Jennie. I did not know that Maya Angelou wrote a children’s book. How wonderful you are to introduce this to us! I will keep my eyes open to purchase this. It would be a family “treasure!” Hugs, Robin xo

    • Jennie says:

      Hugs to you, too. It is a terrific book.

      • reocochran says:

        I am heading to half price bookstore and will keep this on my list! I am reading science fiction books with a male friend of mine, usually I am a big library fan over purchasing books. (Mainly due to cost, but also limited space. . . that being said, I have plenty of children’s books. 🙂 )

  10. I never knew she wrote any children’s books.. She was a great writer and poet..

  11. reocochran says:

    Half price books didn’t have this fine book but I will keep my eyes open when I go to other bookstores, Jennie!

  12. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This post is an excellent discussion of a children’s book by Maya Angelou.

  13. This is wonderful and I won’t forget how Maya Angelou made me feel. Great timing for this post, Jennie, as children start their 2017 school year! 🙂

  14. I had no idea! Can’t think of a person I’d rather have writing for children though. She is so empowering. 🙂

  15. Pingback: Kids' Books to Remember and Some Links For Your Week | Red Canoe Reader

  16. Edward Fagan says:

    I didn’t know that Maya wrote a children’s book. Let’s hope that this knowledge of the book’s existence leads to its increased popularity. This, hopefully, will result in a reprinting of the book and its widespread usage.

    • Jennie says:

      Yes, let’s hope the word spreads that her children’s book is out there. Libraries still carry it! Such an important person with great words to say.

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