MAYA'S SONG is a collection of poems that chronicle distinct chapters in Maya Angelou's life, beginning with her birth in St. Louis in 1928, during a time of segregation. At an early age, Maya has a love for written words by legendary poets and writers like Shakespeare and Langston Hughes. Just as her love of reading and storytelling began, she experienced a trauma that left her speechless for five years. Author Renée Watson describes what happened in minimal terms: "her mother's boyfriend / hurt her body, hurt her soul." She goes on to say Maya's family surrounded her with love and encouragement during this challenging time, and she knew her potential to be great.
One day she spoke again, reading a poem from a poetry book. As Watson writes in a poem titled "Rebirth," "She [...] opened the book, opened her mouth, and words came out. First in a whisper, then in a shout." Maya went on to use her strong voice to propel herself forward and achieve her dreams. In Watson's poem "Unexpected Blessing," she says of Maya, "She told herself over and over,/ Believe in yourself, trust you are enough." Although she faced several hurdles in life, Maya traveled the world as a singer, poet, activist, and writer. She became friends with some of the most well known change-makers, including Martin Luther King Jr. and author James Baldwin. As a "preacher and a teacher" she used her voice for good, and inspired a new generation of storytellers.