Marley Dias’s Book Drive For Black Girls Is Officially A Huge Success
When 11-year-old Marley Dias started a book drive last month, she captured our hearts and minds in a way that would make any presidential candidate jealous. Wise beyond her years she echoed frustrations many people have felt: we’re all sick and tired of reading about white boys and their dogs.
For those close to Marley, her ability to mobilize action in this way is impressive, but not totally surprising. Her mother, Janice Johnson Dias, is the co-founder of the social action organization GrassROOTS Community Foundation. She pushed her daughter to do something about her frustrations with the books that she couldn’t relate to, while helping along the way to make it the success it was.
And what a success it was. Not even a month after she started it, #1000blackgirlbooks has more than exceeded their goal. Along with book donations from Barnes & Noble, author and blogger Kelly Jensen raised nearly $3,000 for the cause. After appearing on Ellen, Marley received a laptop and a $10,000 donation courtesy of Shutterfly.
“In the beginning, I was concerned we weren’t going to reach our goal, and now there are strangers thanking me for doing this,” she told The Guardian. “It makes me feel happy because there are strangers on Facebook who are so thankful and say ‘because of this book drive my son wants to do this’ and my ‘daughter wants to do that’, and I think it’s kind of cool.”
Of the books, Marley’s favorites so far are Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson and I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley. Well over 1,000 books, Marley plans to continue accepting books, which will be donated to schools in Newark, Philadelphia and West Orange. This definitely includes St. Cloud elementary in New Jersey, where her frustrations all started.