Parents' Guide to

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

By Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Poetic autobiography reveals impact of racial prejudice.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 16+

Not Quite Appropriate

My 14 year old son read the synopsis of the book and is choosing not to read it yet. He is very modest and doesn't feel it is appropriate to read about the sexual encounter and molestation that she goes through. Again, his choice. I didn't read it until I was in college and was disturbed by the encounter she was put through. Wonderful civil rights book. Her writing is vivid.
age 18+

Assigned for school reading DO NOT READ

Sexual content. Should not be an assigned reading for students. There are other readings that can be used to explore the poetic writing and reflections that would not involve students reading through sex scenes and abuse. Tell your school teacher your child won't be reading it and ask for an alternative.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (10 ):

Angelou's autobiography is an important and honest look at racial prejudice in the United States during the 1930s and '40s, but it's also as compelling and lyrical as a great novel. Young Maya and the other "characters" are richly realized and complex. The author tells a far-reaching story, emotionally and historically; this book is an essential document for young people who want to understand the plight of African Americans and the ways prejudice affects individuals. The book was nominated for a National Book Award.

Book Details

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