Marley Dias is a sixth grader from New Jersey who started getting frustrated because the books she was reading at school never featured black girls.
So, with the help of her mom Janice, she started a project called #1000BlackGirlBooks: a book drive that plans to collect 1000 books with a protagonist that is both black and female. The book drive started in November 2015 and she has since collected more than 500 books.
Personally, I’ve never noticed the great lack of books featuring black characters. But can you even name one kiddie’s book with a black protagonist? I can’t, and I bet you can’t either.
The 11-year-old told the Huffington Post, she couldn’t connect or identify with any of the characters in the books she was reading. According to the Philly Voice, Marley was sick of reading about “white boys and their dogs” and that was when she teamed up with her mother’s company GrassROOTS Community Foundation to start the book drive aiming to collect 1000 books by 1 February.
All the books will be donated to the low-resource libraries at a book festival in Janice’s hometown of St. Mary, Jamaica.
Since the project began, Marley has recieved huge praise for being an inspiration and making an impact in the literary world by helping others and for advocating against some stereotypical books.
Marley’s philanthropy isn’t new. She regularly serves at a soup kitchen with three of her friends and has even received a grant from Disney Friends for Change and travelled to Ghana to help feed orphans. She is also a contributing writer for BAM and one day dreams about being the editor of her own magazine.
What Marley has done is highlight the lack of diversity that is so prevalent in the literary world. There’s nothing better than relating to a fictional character. This is why Marley’s book drive is so inspirational. Not only does it bring awareness to the lack of diversity, but also empowers our future generation to read and explore the various issues that face our world today. And if she’s doing this at 11, who knows what the future might hold?