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11-Year-Old Launches #1000BlackGirlBooks Because She’s 'Sick of Reading About White Boys and Dogs'

11-Year-Old Launches #1000BlackGirlBooks Because She’s 'Sick of Reading About White Boys and Dogs'

The book drive is seeking literature that features black girls as main characters.

At just 11 years old, Marley Dias has already written a successful proposal for a Disney Friends for Change grant, and served food to orphans in Ghana. Her latest social action project is the #1000BlackGirlBooks book drive.

Dias explained the genesis of the project in an interview with Philly Voice: "I told [my mother] I was sick of reading about white boys and dogs," said Dias, referring specifically 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."

Dias’s project is a part of the Philadelphia-founded GrassROOTS Community Foundation Super Camp for young girls, which encourages a social action project from each of the girls who attend. Dias’s mother, Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, cofounded the organization seven years ago, and serves as the GrassROOTS president.

When asked about the importance of finding positive representation in literature for her daughter in a Fox 29 interview, Dr. Janice Johnson Dias passes the credit back to Marley: "I wish I could say that it was super important. In fact, she brought it to my attention, because, what I told her is, 'I grew up in Jamaica, and this was not so much an issue for me.'"

So far, #1000BlackGirlBooks is about halfway to its goal of 1,000 book donations by February 1st. The books will be donated on February 11th to Retreat Primary and Junior School and Library in the parish of St. Mary, Jamaica, where Dias’s mother was raised as a child.

For more information on the project, visit the GrassROOTS Community Foundation website.

For those interested in donating, send books by February 1st to:
GrassROOTS Community Foundation
59 Main Street, Suite 323, West Orange, NJ 07052

You can also donate $10 for the purchase price of a book, and show your support online by tagging your favorite book with #blackgirlbooks.

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Cassie Sheets