In an effort to encourage teen literacy, L.B Tilt brings forth Unchained, one of the three novels in the Gravel Road series written as a hi-lo novel. Unchained aims to blend high level interest with low level reading skills. Tilt uses the 16 years of experience she gained while teaching at-risk students as a way to develop stories and characters they can identify with.
Unchained follows the story of TJ, a young man forced to live with his mother, who has been deemed rehabilitated, two years after being taken away from her and placed in the foster care system. TJ also struggles with hunger, peer pressure and intimidation. He yearns for attention, affection and love.
“I knew the minute they came in that more than dad would be taken away from me. They would find the drugs still cluttering up the living room. They would find the small amount of pot in my room. I knew nothing would be the same.”
Re-entering his mother’s home also means readapting to the lifestyle he was once accustomed to, whether he likes it or not. During the course of the story TJ realizes that he has more power over his situation than he ever realized. He has the power to make his own decisions, decisions that will affect his future.
The other books in the Gravel Road series include Edge of Ready and 2 Days. Edge of Ready deals with issues of rape and abuse, while 2 Days focuses on teen pregnancy.
“I totally understand why some kids don’t like to read. I get it. But it is through teaching that I became passionate about literacy and learned that reading really is a gateway to a better life. So now I’m on a mission to provide a variety of books filled with captivating stories for kids of all ages who struggle with reading.”
Tilt’s willingness to tackle real issues that plague a large population of today’s youth is important. It is a step in the right direction in terms of not only combating the issues at hand, but combating illiteracy in the United States, especially among the at-risk, who often are from underserved areas around the country.
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By L.B Tilt