After years of reading books that didn’t feel relevant to her life, Marley Dias decided to do something about it. So the 11-year-old student started a book drive, called #1000BlackGirlBooks, to round up titles that feature protagonists who look like her.
Philly Voice reports that it all began with a conversation with her mom late last year. “I told her I was sick of reading about White boys and dogs,” Dias said. When her mother asked what she was going to do about it, she had an idea ready. “I told her I was going to start a book drive, and a specific book drive, where Black girls are the main characters in the book and not background characters or minor characters.”
And so she did, launching the campaign in November as part of the Philadelphia-founded GrassROOTS Community Foundation, where Dias and other children complete an annual social action project. The goal is to collect 1,000 books by February 1. At last count, she had reached 400.
Once she has all the books, Dias plans to create a reference guide with all the titles, sorted by appropriate age group. On February 11, Dias and friends will travel to St. Mary, Jamaica, where her mother—and GrassROOTS’ president—grew up. They will host a book fair and donate the collected titles to Retreat Primary and Junior School and Library.