January 28, 2016



Marley Dias / image via PhillyVoice

Marley Dias / image via PhillyVoice

Eleven-year-old Marley Dias is “sick of reading about white boys and dogs.”

So Marley (who is already a social action powerhouse: she’s received a Disney Friends for Change grant and helped feed orphans in Ghana) launched the project #1000BlackGirlBooks—an initiative to collect books “where black girls are the main characters in the book and not background characters or minor characters,” she told Brandon Baker at PhillyVoice.

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

#1000BlackGirlBooks is part of GrassROOTS Community Foundation Super Camp, a Philadelphia-based organization “designed to empower and improve the health of ‘impoverished’ girls middle-school-aged and younger,” Baker reports.

Her mother, Janice, who helped co-found GrassROOTS said of Marley, “She’s not growing up in an all-black country . . . For her, identification is a bigger deal . . . For young black girls in the U.S., context is really important for them—to see themselves and have stories that reflect experiences that are closer to what they or their friends have.”

Marley’s goal is to send 1,000 books with black female protagonists to a low-resources library in St. Mary, Jamaica, where her mother grew up. The deadline is February 1st, and she’s about halfway there: 400 books so far.

There are only a few days left!

Send your donations to:

GrassROOTS Community Foundation
59 Main Street, Suite 323
West Orange, NJ 07052



Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.