CNN PRODUCER NOTE Adrian Sean is a communications and music student in Detroit. She told me, 'I cannot describe the feeling I had when I read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" for the first time, and knew someone else in the world had been through extreme hardships just as I had. She not only survived, but she thrived just by being herself. Maya Angelou was and still is a teacher, a mentor, and a friend to me. Her impact on my life will always have a special place in my heart.'
- hhanks, CNN iReport producer
The first time I read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", I felt like I had a friend who could relate to my life. There were so many times in my life when i needed an encouraging word, and I found it in Maya's poems, stories, interviews, and books. I am sad, but I am also driven. I want to encourage other people the way Maya Angelou encouraged me. I want to fill some little girl's heart with hope, the way she filled mine.