File this under “Right on.”
An 11-year-old New Jersey girl, sick up to her ears of books “about white boys and dogs,” took it upon herself to solve her own problem, rather than waiting for her school or local library to do so for her. She created her own campaign called #1000BlackGirlBooks, which seeks to both collect and donate books featuring black girls as the protagonist.
“I was sick of reading about white boys and dogs, and I told [my mom] I was going to start a book drive, and a specific book drive, where black girls are the main character in the book and not background characters or minor characters,” Marley Dias said.
Fantastic idea, right?
Dias and two classmates (Briana and Amina) aim to collect 1,000 such books by Feb. 11, when they depart for St. Mary, Jamaica. There, the three young organizers will donate books and host their own book fair. The trio also plan to put together a guide detailing the various titles they’ve collected, their authors and the age groups for which each title is considered appropriate.
Dias’ mother, Janice Johnson, said her daughter’s campaign goes beyond addressing and improving her school’s curriculum, pointing out the incredible importance of young readers finding characters they can identify with in order to improve their chances of falling in love with reading.
“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 have or their friends have,” Johnson said.
There is no doubt about that, and proving the joys of reading to a child early on by offering them main characters they can identify with is surely one means for doing just that.
To contribute books for any age group to Dias’ #1000BlackGirlBooks, one can send packages to:
GrassROOTS Community Foundation
59 Main Street, Suite 323, West Orange, NJ 07052
Monetary donations to help in the purchase of books are also appreciated.
Featured image via Fox 29 video screen capture.