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Maya Angelou and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Life Doesn’t Frighten Me republished for 25th anniversary


To celebrate 25 years since poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou published Life Doesn’t Frighten Me with accompanying artwork from Jean-Michel Basquiat, the courageous children’s poem has been republished by Abrams books.

Despite being filed under the kids poetry section of the publisher’s website, the defiance in Maya’s writing “celebrates the courage within each of us, young and old,” says Abrams Books. “From the scary thought of panthers in the park to the unsettling scene of a new classroom, fearsome images are summoned and dispelled by the power of faith in ourselves.”

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s artwork, originally published in the book five years after he passed away in 1988, is the ideal accompaniment for Maya’s poem in his bold but childlike illustration style. The pairing of the artist’s style and written content of the book creates “a place where every child, indeed every person, may experience his or her own fearlessness”.

Featuring updated biographies on both Maya Angelou and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and an afterword by editor Sara Jane Boyers, Life Doesn’t Frighten Me is the ideal introduction to the fine arts and activist writing at any age.

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me is available to buy here, and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s exhibition, Boom for Real at London’s Barbican runs until 28 January.