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For poet, author and activist Maya Angelou, age really is nothing but a number. At 84-years-old she’s best known for her world-renowned memoirs, and this week she’s blessed us with number seventh, Mom & Me & Mom.

We were first introduced to Angelou’s story in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1969. In this project, she introduced us to her biological mother however she’s reframed from going into detail about their relationship. And in her five autobiographies to follow, stays from in-depth stories her mother.

However, Angelou is finally ready to open up, and in Mom & Me & Mom she details how her mother’s absence affect her childhood and adult relationships.

She describes it as a story “of the healing power of love.”

So, in honor of Maya Angelou’s powerful story and all the great lessons we’ve learned from her remarkable life, lets take a look at a few books that have been inspiring and life-changing for Black girls all over the world.

1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s first memoir is a coming-of-age story about her experiences as a young African-American girl growing up in Stamps, Arkansas amongst racism and family chaos.

2. Sula– Toni Morrison

This book explores the relationship of Sula and Nel, two childhood girlfriends who are struggling to find their identities in America.

3. Their Eyes Were Watching God– Zora Neale Hurston

This classic story represents women’s liberation, freedom and love at its finest.

4. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

This bestseller was published in 1882. It tells the story of Celie, a young Black girl growing up in the rural South in the 1930s. She decides to write a letter to God detailing her abuse and dreams.

5. When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost by Joan Morgan

This book gives a fresh perspective of the reality of being a black woman in America today. It touches on everything from the hip-hop culture to babymother/babyfather syndrome.

6. For Colored Girls– Ntozake Shange

Tyler Perry made a great movie, however the book experience is powerful and thought-provokaing in a way that the film was unable to capture.

7. Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine by Bebe Moore Campbell

This is a great book to start a discussion about the issues of race, gender class and politics among your friends of all nationalities.

For 2024’s iteration of MadameNoire and HelloBeautiful’s annual series Women to Know, we knew we wanted to celebrate the people who help make the joys of film and television possible. To create art is to create magic. This year, we spotlight Hollywood Executive’s changing the face of cinema.