Renée Watson


RENÉE WATSON is a New York Times Bestselling author of books for young readers. She has received several awards including the Newbury Honor, Coretta Scott King Award, and an NAACP Image Award nomination. Many of Renée’s books are inspired by her childhood growing up in Portland, Oregon. Her writing explores themes of home, identity, body image, and the intersections of race, class, and gender. She has given readings and lectures at many renowned places including the United Nations, the Library of Congress, and the U.S. Embassy in Japan and New Zealand.

Her books include the Ryan Hart series (Ways to Make Sunshine, Ways to Grow Love, Ways to Share Joy), She Persisted: Oprah Winfrey, Piecing Me Together, and three acclaimed picture books: Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills, Maya’s Song, a biography on the poet Maya Angelou, and The 1619 Project: Born on the Water, co-authored with Nikole Hannah-Jones. Renée splits her time between Portland, Oregon and New York City.



From bestselling, award-winning creators Renée Watson and Bryan Collier comes a stunningly crafted picture book chronicling the life of poet and activist Maya Angelou.

This unforgettable picture book introduces young readers to the life and work of Maya Angelou, whose words have uplifted and inspired generations of readers. The author of the celebrated autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya was the first Black person and first woman to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration, and her influence echoes through culture and history. She was also the first Black woman to appear on the United States quarter.

Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award winner Renée Watson uses Angelou’s beloved medium of poetry to lyrically chronicle her rich life in a deeply moving narrative. Vivid and striking collage art by Caldecott Honor recipient and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Bryan Collier completes this unforgettable portrait of one of the most important American artists in history.

Maya’s momma was right.

Maya was a preacher, a teacher.

A Black girl whose voice

chased away darkness, ushered in light.

Maya’s Song Hardcover – Picture Book, September 20, 2022 by Renée Watson (Author), Bryan Collier (Illustrator) Harper Collins Publishers