Oprah and Dr. Maya Angelou

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Dr. Angelou says she wrote Letter to My Daughter to highlight the truth. "Sometimes adults—that is, people much older than you—don't tell you the truth. Sometimes they don't care enough. Sometimes they don't have the courage to tell you the truth—not everything they know, but the truth about certain things," she says.

The stories in Letters to My Daughter are not taken as an opportunity to preach, Dr. Angelou says. "I don't say, 'This is what I learned' or 'This is what you should learn,'" she says. "Rather, I set you up in the situation and ask you to learn something. It will make your life richer, finer. You will be more proud of yourself, more happy to be within your own skin. You will like yourself more."

While the book allows readers to draw their own lessons from what Dr. Angelou has learned, she says there is one greatest lesson in life. "Dare to love. Now, by love I don't mean indulgence. I don't mean sentimentality. I don't mean mush," she says. "I mean that condition in the human spirit so profound that it allows us to dare to step out on the word of God, on one's own word. This condition that allows us to like somebody. With love, we may be able to look through complexion and see community. That's only with love. Oprah, it may be that stuff that keeps the stars in the firmament or the blood racing through our veins. I mean daring to care."