11-Year-Old New Jersey Girl Starts the #1000BlackGirlBooks Campaign

One young girl is tackling the lack of diversity in children’s literature head on.

Marley Dias, an 11-year-old girl from New Jersey, has started a campaign to collect 1,000 children’s books that feature black girl protagonists. The idea came to Dias after she realized that not a single one of the books assigned to her school class featured girls of color.

“In my fifth grade class, we were only reading books about white boys and their dogs,” Dais told Good Day Philadelphia. “And I understood why my teacher wanted us to read those books, because those are the books he could connect with. But I didn’t necessarily connect with them.”

After broaching the issue at home, Dias’ mother, Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, asked her daughter what she wanted to do about the issue. The young girl’s response was to start a book drive. The#1000BlackGirlBooks campaign aims to collect the books featuring black girl characters and then on Feb. 13, Dias and her non-profit partner GrassROOTS Community Foundation will play host to a book festival at Retreat Primary School in St. Mary, Jamaica.

In an interview with the Philly Voice, Dias shared that 400 books had already been collected, putting her nearly halfway at her goal. She hopes to collect all 1,000 books by Feb.1.

The full article first appeared in Paste Magazine on Jan. 27, 2016.

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