Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

By Bethany Hegedus
Illustrated by Tonya Engel

Hardcover: $21.95


Writer, activist, trolley car conductor, dancer, mother, and humanitarian--Maya Angelou's life was marked by transformation and perseverance. In this comprehensive picture-book biography geared towards older readers, Bethany Hegedus lyrically traces Maya's life from her early days in Stamps, Arkansas, through her work as a freedom fighter to her triumphant rise as a poet of the people. 

A foreword by Dr. Angelou's grandson Colin Johnson describes how a love of literature and poetry helped young Maya overcome childhood trauma and turn adversity into triumph. Coupled with Tonya Engel's metaphorical and emotive illustrations, this biography beautifully conveys the heartaches and successes of this truly phenomenal woman, and offers a powerful tribute to the written word. 

Watch a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Rise! with author Bethany Hegedus and illustrator Tonya Engel.

Check out this interview with author Bethany Hegedus on writing Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou.

About the Creators

Thumb_bethany_hegedus Bethany Hegedus - Author

BETHANY HEGEDUS is an award-winning author of picture books and middle-grade novels, including Grandfather Gandhi and Alabama Spitfire. A former educator, she teaches widely and enjoys mentoring young writers. Hegedus is owner and creative director of the Writing Barn, a writing workshop and retreat center. She lives with her family in Austin, Texas. You can find her online at

Thumb_tonya_engel Tonya Engel

TONYA ENGEL is a self-taught painter and children's book illustrator, including the pictures for Our Lady of Guadalupe and the jacket art for Hurricane Child. Her work is inspired by southern folk artists. Early in her career she explored abstract painting, but soon began to concentrate on figurative form mixed with emotion and expressionistic narrative. This art style was the perfect complement to Maya Angelou's lyrical storytelling. Engel lives in Houston, Texas. You can see more of her work at