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Author, poet, civil rights activist Maya Angelou dies at 86

Maya Angelou, the world-renowned author of such books as "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and several books written especially for children has died at the age of 86. A resident of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Dr. Angelou was known for her poetry and her civil rights activism throughout not only the United States, but other countries as well. Although she never graduated from a university, she is known as Dr. Angelou for her more than thirty honorary doctoral degrees.

Children's books by Maya Angelou-slide0
The world has lost one of the greatest women of all time. Dr. Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86.
Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images

Her first published work, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," was autobiographical and detailed Angelou's life from the age of three through 17. Six more books about her life would follow: "Gather Together in My Name," "Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas," "The Heart of a Woman," "All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes," "A Song Flung Up to Heaven" and "Mom & Me & Mom." The first book in the series was published in 1969, the last in 2013.

"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" dealt with the poverty, racism and trauma of sexual abuse and rape shaped the woman who has been one of the most-influential women of the 20th century. Her children's books have introduced a whole new generation to the wisdom and inspiration of this national treasure. Any of the following children's books by Maya Angelou would be a great addition to a home library.

"My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me"

"Poetry for Young People: Maya Angelou"

"Life Doesn't Frighten Me"

"Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem"

The Children's Fiction Examiner offers their condolences and prayers to the family and friends of Dr. Angelou.

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