#1000BlackGirlBooks Drive Is Here to Counter Books About White Boys and Dogs

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11-year-old Marley Dias from New Jersey has achieved a lot in her decade plus long life, from receiving a Disney Friends for Change Grant to volunteering at an orphanage in Ghana, and now she is tackling the whitewashed publishing industry. Dias was getting fed up with her English class, telling her mom that she was sick of reading books about “white boys and dogs.” Her mom promptly asked her what she intended to do about it, to which Dias said: “I told her I was going to start a book drive, and a specific book drive, where black girls are the main characters and not background characters or minor characters.”

In a statement to the press, Dias explains the purpose behind the project: “My parents have taught me the value of reading and self-love through books that have characters that look like me and talk like me. I want to make sure other Black girls around the world can see and love themselves, too, through these books.”

Dias plans to collect 1000 books by February first, and give these to Retreat Primary and Junior School and Library in St. Mary, Jamaica, where her mother grew up. She is over half way to reaching her goal. To complete the challenge, Dias has teamed up with GrassROOTS Community Foundation, a New Jersey based public health and social action foundation founded by Dias’s mother, Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, and Tariq Trotter from The Roots.

Dr. Johnson Dias said: “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.”

Dias is encouraging people to use the hashtag #1000BlackGirlBooks to share their favorite books on social media and keep the conversation going. If you want to contribute even more, books and donations may be sent to:

GrassROOTS Community Foundation

59 Main Street, Suite 323, West Orange, NJ 07052

Learn more here.

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