Characters of color only feature in roughly 11% of the children’s books published every year. For black girls like Marley Dias, finding books with characters that look like you can present a huge challenge. After reading classics like Where the Red Fern Grows and the Shiloh series in school, Marley decided to take matters into her own hands. She launched #1000BlackGirlBooks, a campaign to collect 1000 books with young Black female protagonists by February 1.
“I told [my mom] I was sick of reading about white boys and dogs,” the 11-year-old said. “‘What are you going to do about it?” [my mom] asked. “And I told her I was going to start a book drive, and a specific book drive, where black girls are the main characters in the book and not background characters or minor characters.”
Marley’s project is being supported by Philly’s GrassROOTS Community Foundation, an organization Dias’ mother, Janice, founded with Tariq Trotter aka Black Thought)=, of The Roots.
#1000BlackGirlBooks isn’t Marley’s first project, the tween has also worked to help orphans in Ghana.
When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, Marley’s answer should come as no surprise.
“I want to be a magazine editor for my own magazine,” she said. “And I’d also like to continue social action. For the rest of my life.”
If you want to help Marley Reach her goal, you can send books to: GrassROOTS Community Foundation, 59 Main St., West Orange, N.J., 07052, Office 322.