Marley Dias, 12-Year-Old Founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, Signs Scholastic Deal for Book on Activism

At the age of 11, Marley Dias started a campaign that gained worldwide attention. She launched #1000BlackGirlBooks after realizing that the books at her school didn’t have black girls as the main character.

As noted by Philly Voice, she told her mom that she “was sick of reading about white boys and dogs,” referring to “Where the Red Fern Grows” and the “Shiloh” series.

“‘What are you going to do about it?’ [my mom] asked. And 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.” – Marley Dias, Philly Voice

Marley Dias | Credit: Andrea Cipriani Mecchi

This is not her first time being involved in social action. Before launching #1000BlackGirlsBooks, she wrote a proposal for (and received) a Disney Friends For Change grant — awarded to young people that want to make their community better. She has also traveled to Ghana to feed orphans.

Marley is part of the Philadelphia-based GrassROOTS Community Foundation, created to provide health and wellness programs for women and girls. According to the official site, Dias’ mother, Janice, cofounded the organization seven years ago with lead MC of The Roots, Tariq Trotter (aka, Black Thought).

She is continuing her mission to motivate others with her own book, as reported by Scholastic (Feb 2nd, 2017).

According to the source, the book “explores activism, social justice, volunteerism, equity and inclusion, using social media for good (not just makeup tutorials and angry tweets), and shows how young people can galvanize their strengths to make positive changes in our world.”

“Also focusing on the importance of literacy and diversity, Marley offers suggestions on book selection, book-talking, and sharing titles. She delivers hands-on strategies for becoming a lifelong reader. She provides examples based on her extensive literacy advocacy and community work with schools and students throughout the world” (Scholastic).

“I’m hoping to show that other girls can do this as well. I used the resources I was given, and I want people to pass that down and use the things they’re given to create more social action projects—and do it just for fun, and not make it feel like a chore.” – Marley Dias, Philly Voice

The book will be published in Spring 2018 by Scholastic Press.

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