#1000BlackGirlBooks: 11-Year-Old Philanthropist Launches International Book Drive

Photo credit: GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF)
When 11-year-old Marley Dias got tired of reading books about “dogs and white boys” and yearned to read stories about awesome Black girls like herself, she decided to do something about it.

“My parents have taught me the value of reading and self-love through books that have characters that look like me and talk like me. I want to make sure other Black girls around the world can see and love themselves, too, through these books,” Marley said in a statement to the press.

Dias came up with the idea for #1000BlackGirlBooks, an international book drive, over dinner with her mother, Dr. Janice Dias Johnson, one night. When Marley expressed her frustration over the lack of diversity in literature, her mother asked her what she was going to do about it.

“And I told her I was going to start a book drive where Black girls are the main characters in the book and not background or minor characters,” Dias told Philly Voice in a recent interview.

Earlier this month, the 11-year-old teamed up with GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF), to turn her international book drive idea into reality. GCF is a New Jersey-based public health and social action organization founded in 2011 by Dias’ mother and Tariq Trotter, lead MC of the hip-hop group, The Roots.

Advertisement

Philly Voice reports that #1000BlackGirlBooks has already met half of its goal of collecting 1,000 books by February to donate to the Retreat Primary and Junior School and Library in the parish of St. Mary, Jamaica, where Dr. Dias was raised. #1000BlackGirlBooks has also already garnered the support of Scholastic Books, among other contributors.

“For young Black girls in the U.S., context is really important for them — to see themselves and have stories that reflect experiences that are closer to what they or their friends have,” Dias’ mother, Janice, told the Philly Voice.

#1000BlackGirlBooks isn’t Marley’s only philanthropic project. Last year, she scored Disney’s Friend for Change grant, which helps young people turn their creative ideas into community projects and has traveled to Ghana to feed orphans. The aspiring magazine editor also blogs about her social action projects for BAM, a social network for adolescent girls supported by GCF.

On February 11, Marley will travel to Jamaica with fellow BAM bloggers to deliver the #1000BlackGirlBooks and host a book fair.

Advertisement

More from Books & Art

Back in the early 1970s, Pierre Le Guennec was Pablo Picasso's handyman and electrician. Le Guennec had such a good relationship with the artist that he ...
J.K. Rowling, the reigning queen of the Wizarding World, has a present for you. That present is a quiz in which Pottermore will select your patronus. We ...
I do not recognize Mara Wilson when she arrives at an ice cream shop in Brooklyn, wearing a red dress and a sweep of black eyeliner. When she says hello...
Vanessa Bayer of "SNL" interviews author Jessi Klein
In honor of National Support Teen Literature Day, we've collected the best books to pick up if you're in the mood for a little young adult lit. YA has only...
There are some books you pick up because you know they'll be tear-jerkers, and you're not opposed to a good cry. Then there are the books that sucker-punch...
It's been a big year for the Winnie the Pooh characters. This summer, the original stuffed animals the literary characters are based upon (who reside in ...
Whether rooted in reality or a glamorized rom-com, job stereotypes make it easy to assume the voices behind most runway reviews, PR pitches, and cover ...
Even if you're not actually going back to school, there's something about September air that makes it feel as though it's time to go buy pencils and ...
As long as books have existed, there have been people trying to stop people from reading them. And though the practice is widely condemned, it is also ...
If you're anything like the R29 crew, chances are you spend a lot of time engaged with a screen during the day. So maybe the last thing you want to do ...
Fans of Zayn Malik that wish he would (finally, at the ripe old age of 23) release an autobiography will soon have that wish granted. The former ...
Julianne Moore is mainly known for her work on the big screen. But the actress also happens to be an author, nine times over — her children's series, ...
In Cameroonian-born author Imbolo Mbue's debut novel, an immigrant family struggles to claim their own iteration of the American Dream. Ultimately, they ...