from Step Out on Nothing, by Byron Pitts (St. Martin's Press, 2009)
Byron Pitts, a "60 Minutes" television journalist, was functionally illiterate until the sixth grade. He had developed ways of hiding his learning disabilities, but finally after assistance from both the usual and unexpected places, he was able to overcome them. The subtitle of Pitts's memoir, "How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenges," is certainly true, but much of his success rests on his own shoulders. A determined optimist since his boyhood in inner-city Baltimore, Pitts learned the "value of hard, honest work," which also applied to some emotionally charged family dynamics.
Functionally illiterate in fifth grade and now a "60 Minutes" correspondent and author. Wow. Step Out on Nothing is an inspiring story, needless to say. Although not written specifically for teens, I think many would get a lot out of this book.
Pitts's memoir comes in #2 on journalist Kam Williams's list Top Ten Best Black Books of 2009.
Pitts, Byron. Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenges. St. Martin's Press, 2009. ISBN-10: 0312577664. ISBN-13: 978-0312577667.