Wom-Er, Girl Crush Wednesday | This 11-year-old Wants to Expand Your Bookshelf


As the old saying goes, if you don’t see what you’re looking for in stores, create it. That’s just what eleven-year-old Marley Dias did.

The sixth grader was tired of reading about “white boys and dogs.” In other words, stories and characters that she couldn’t relate to. Sadly that invisibilty is more pervasive than you think.

So her mom, Janice Dias, asked what she was going to do with her frustration?

That’s when Marley launched #1000BlackGirlBooks, a book drive for black girls as main characters not sidekicks or background pieces, in November.

Partnering with her mom’s GrassROOTS Community Foundation, Marley has collected 700 books–nearly at her goal of 1,000 books for black girls.


With her visit to  Ellen today it’s safe to say not only will she meet her goal but surpass it. Watch what gifts Ellen Degeneres gives to help Marley’s book campaign here.

And if you’re wondering where all those books are heading? To Jamaica mon.

On February 11th Marley will visit St. Mary, Jamaica (where her mama hails from) to host a book festival. The New Jersey res will also donate the collected books to schools and libraries. In hopes of inspiring more black girls to read more after seeing images of themselves.

“I know there’s a lot of black girl books out there, I just haven’t read them,” Marley tells Huffpost.”So if we started this I would find them and other people would be able to read them, as well.”

Marley’s #1000BlackGirlBooks is just one do-gooder deed the pre-teen’s taken part in. According to Huffpost, last year she won a Disney grant to empower young girls to follow their passion. Then followed that up by feeding orphans in Ghana.

Did we also mention Marley started a nonprofit, BAM, with her friends? They frequently volunteer at local soup kitchens.

No wonder she’s pegged supergirl–step aside Melissa Benoist– with her superpower being writing. She’s gunning for a job as a magazine editor. Or as Toni Morrison.

Either way Marley knows the weight of the written word.

“[Representation] definitely matters because when you read a book and you learn something, you always want to have something you can connect with,” she told Huffpost.

Adding,”If you have something in common with the characters, you’ll always remember and learn a lesson from the book.”

To learn more about the literary activist and how you can help click here


Feel Good Friday | Shape-Ups, Stories and Scholarships

barber_0_1439548519Summer may be coming to an end ( say it ain’t so) but looking fierce for the first day of school just got more interesting.

An Iowan barber offered the best back-to-school special around: free haircuts to kids that read to him.

Courtney Holmes told Power 105.1 the free promotion is to help the community of Dubuque, Iowa prepare for the upcoming school year.

And as for the eight minute stories as payment?

“I just want to support kids reading,” Holmes said in a statement.

He’s not the only one. King James announced he’s working with University of Akron to sponsor 1,100 full college scholarships through his Family Foundation. The kids are required to complete the “I Promise” program of the foundation–vowing to maintain good grades and attendance, give back to the community–before getting the free ride.

The children range from the third to seventh grades in the program. Current seventh graders are likely to take advantage of LeBron picking up the $9500 tuition tab, if the promise is kept.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY | Move Over Batgirl, Here’s Moxie!!

Who rules the reading world? GIRLS!! Natalie hoisting up those 16 Gs for her creativity.  Image Courtesy: diana_emuge

Who rules the reading world? GIRLS!! Natalie hoisting up those 16 Gs for her creativity.
Image Courtesy: diana_emuge

When 7-year-old Natalie McGriff (all Natalies are geniuses, just saying.) didn’t think she had good hair because it’s natural, her mom came up with a radical idea.

Let’s celebrate it and make those afro puffs a superpower. Cue “The Adventures of Moxie Girl,” comic book based on a pig-tailed version of Natalie. One thing they have in common: they both hated their hair. But that all changes when she uses a shampoo that gives her hair superpowers.

moxie“Moxie Girl” was created in December and sought crowdfunding site One Spark.

ABC News reports, the Jacksonville, Florida mom-and-daughter duo won a $16,000 prize in the “education” category at the crowdfunding festival, which will go towards publishing “Moxie Girl.”

They estimate publishing the comic book in June.

Angela Nixon–Nat’s mom–says the comic kills two birds with one stone: offers very much needed images of black girls that look (natural hair and all) and sound just like them (that can kick butt), and ignite a love of reading.

Angela Nixon told ABC News this about the project:

We want girls of color to know they’re awesome,that they have moxie and that they’re young queens who should be proud of who they are and who they represent.

Don’t know about y’all, but I’ll be scooping this up for my niece when I see it in bookstores.

Happy Reading!!