A New Jersey 6th-grader met her goal to find 1,000 black girl books. Here’s why it matters.
Marley Dias hopes these books will help other black girls like her learn how to be whomever and whatever they want to be.
“Tuesday marked “mission accomplished” for one New Jersey sixth-grader on a quest to find 1,000 books with characters that look like her.
In November, 11-year-old Marley Dias started the #1000BlackGirlBooks drive. She was frustrated last school year by the books her fifth-grade teacher assigned about “white boys and their dogs” without much variation.
“I understood that my teacher could connect with those characters, so he asked us to read those books,” Dias told the Guardian. “But I didn’t relate to them, so I didn’t learn lessons from those stories.”
Marley plans on donating the collection to her school, St. Cloud Elementary in West Orange, and to a school in Jamaica, the country from which her mother emigrated.
According to a survey by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 180 of the 3,500 children’s books they received from publishers in 2014 featured black characters, and only 84 were written by black authors.
Wilmore asked Dias why this cause was important to her. Dias explained:
“When you read a story about a person you connect with — like, well, you host a TV show, so if you were to read a book about a black man who hosts a TV show, you would remember whatever he learned and use it on the show.”
By compiling 1,000 books written with black girls in mind, Dias hopes others like her will learn different ways to be whomever and whatever they want to be.
Read the full piece and watch the video from The Nightly Show here
CONGRATULATIONS MARLEY, AND A HUGE THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO SENT BOOKS! What an incredible kid - the video interview is a MUST SEE clip!