Frustrated with her school’s inability to provide books with relatable characters, 11 year-old Marley Dias started a book drive to find 1,000 children’s books with Black girls as protagonists. Representation matters and Black History Month is a good time to get children of all races interested in books featuring characters of color.
“I started this because in my fifth-grade class I was only able to read books about white boys and their dogs. I understood that my teacher could connect with those characters, so he asked us to read those books. But I didn’t relate to them, so I didn’t learn lessons from those stories,” Dias told the Guardian.
Marley’s #1000BlackGirlBooks initiative has hit its goal thanks to the generosity of individuals and companies including Barnes & Noble. However, Marley, who attends school in West Orange New Jersey isn’t stopping there. Some books collected will be sent to St. Mary’s parish in Jamaica, West Indies. Subsequent donations will be made to schools in New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Marley’s drive has inspired other children to create similar book drives to benefit their peers and communities.
Since launching her campaign Marley has appeared on The Ellen Show and The Nightly Show with Larry Willmore. Some of her favorite books include Rita Williams-Garcia’s One Crazy Summer and Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming.
Get the full story at The Guardian.
Image: Janice Johnson Dias