For most kids in high school, Friday night football games, loads of schoolwork and hanging out with friends is the main priority, but for senior Ta’Tyani Young, becoming a published author is her main priority.
Her book, “Teen Guide to Living with Incarcerated Parents,” which was published the summer of 2018, tackles the issue of mass incarceration in the United States and its effect on children with an incarcerated parent. Focusing on her personal experience with having a parent who is currently incarcerated, Young wrote with the intent of helping other teens in her situation learn to cope with their reality and removing the stigma behind parental incarceration.
Under the pseudonym Anyé, Young began writing her story at the age of 14 and recalls the book writing process took only two months. After realizing how deeply her experience with an incarcerated parent had affected her and how little the resources were for teenagers in her situation, she expressed an urge to bring representation to the challenges they face. “I’m using my voice to speak up for those who feel they don’t have one…” she says, “so they’d know that they [are]n’t alone.”
Her book has since grabbed the attention of many, landing her invitations to be a keynote speaker at universities, and interviews with news stations such as Great Day Washington.
When thinking about the response her book has received, Young describes it as unexpected. “The response I got from people actually surprised me because I didn’t think that people cared,” she says. “Now I realize that there are people and organizations that feel as passionate about this issue as I do.”
Although her book is being well received, Young believes that her work is not done yet. Her book is just the beginning in her fight to end the suffering of children with incarcerated parents. She plans to go on a book tour this summer and has partnered with the US Dream Academy, a non-profit organization that aims to lower the risk of incarceration in at risk youth, donating a copy of her book to all seven of the Dream City locations.
In the future, Young shared that she is interested in possibly writing another story. Her second book would demonstrate how she has been able to mature and push through the adversities that many children with incarcerated parents face.
Young is not only an accomplished author, but also a Hollister brand agent and has a blast working for them. She says, “I get to share my love for what the brand stands for: Living in the moment, living for the unexpected, and living like it’s summer every day.”