Dr. Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. Hailed as a global renaissance woman, she was a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, historian, producer, actor, director, filmmaker and civil rights activist. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she was raised there and in Stamps, Arkansas. By the mid-50s, she had become a dancer, touring Europe with a production of Porgy and Bess, recorded her first album, Calypso Lady, acted Off-Broadway for the first time and wrote Cabaret for Freedom. In the 1960's. she moved to Cairo and Ghana, editing, teaching and mastering a number of languages, returning in 1964 to America to work first with Malcolm X and then with Dr. Martin Luther King. In the 1970s she wrote screenplays, composed scores, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize as a screenwriter, appeared on television and in films and published. She is renowned for her series of autobiographies, the most famous being I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which was nominated for a National Book Award in 1970. The list of her published verse, non-fiction, and fiction includes more than 30 bestselling titles. Dr. Angelou served on two presidential committees, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and received 3 Grammy Awards. Dr. Angelou received over 30 honorary degrees and was Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. Dr. Maya Angelou passed away in May 2014 at her home in North Carolina. She was 86.
Gr 3 Up-This poem was largely inspired by the terrible natural disasters occurring throughout the world when Angelou was invited to read at the 2005 White House tree-lighting ceremony. Thus, the opening lines rumble and roil almost menacingly to illustrate the climate of doubt and anxiety into which the spirit of Christmas arrives. Hope enters as a whisper and grows until it is "louder than the explosion of bombs." The harsher aspects of the world fade as people of all faiths and races join together in trust and brotherhood. Johnson and Fancher's paintings, rendered in oil, acrylic, and fabric on canvas, elegantly depict a calm, snow-blanketed village where children play, families shop, and artisans ply their crafts. People gather at the Town Hall for sweets and cocoa, and then, in a candlelight procession, join again to sing beneath the stars. This is a comforting book that gets to the heart of what Christmas should mean. As an added treat, Angelou reads the poem on the accompanying CD.-Linda Israelson, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.