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