Banned BooksWeek Spotlight: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
What I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Removed as required reading in Annapolis, Md. freshman English curriculum (2006) because the book’s rape scenes and other mature content are too advanced for ninth graders. The freshman English class syllabus is sent home to parents to read at the beginning of each year. It warns them of the book’s mature themes and allows parents to ask to have their children read another book instead. Source: ALA May 2006, pp. 132–33.
Thoughts: The general synposis:
This is the first in a five volume biography series. Written in 1983, it chronicles Maya’s life from age 3 to her early teens. The details of her childhood living with her grandmother in Arkansas, her absentee parents that just flicker in and out of her life, and her incredible bond with her brother showcase the value of family, loyalty, strength and the basic human instinct of survival.
The book is challenged because of the rape scene. I remember when I was younger, one of my teachers showing us this movie in class, and fast forwarding through the rape scene in the movie. Although it is a graphic and heartbreaking part of the story, it is there as proof of Maya Angelou’s accomplishments and ability to oversome some of the worst obstacles in life. It is a shame to ban this from so many teenagers that could benefit from the role model Maya Angelou has become.
You can read my review of this title here.