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Meet Marley Dias, the 16-year-old behind #1000BlackGirlBooks

Marley Dias loves to read. But after reading kids book after kids book about white boys and their dogs, Marley took matters into her own hands. When she was only 11 years old, Marley started a campaign called #1000BlackGirlsBooks, with the goal of collecting and donating 1,000 books that feature black girls as the main character. The campaign took off, and Marley ended up collecting 11,000 books — and ultimately writing and publishing one of her own.

Name: Marley Dias

Age: 16 

Favorite app: Right now, my favorite app is HabitMinder because it reminds me to meditate, read, hydrate, and stretch as much as possible.

What she does: I am the founder of the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign, where I have collected over 11,000 books where black girls are the main character. I am also the author of Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You! I work to promote inclusion and equity.

Three words she’d use to define Gen Z: Innovative. Bright. Expressive.

How books and diversity became a passion: My parents had always read to me and showed me the joy in reading. By being an avid reader, I am able to dream and express myself in extraordinary ways. My parents made an effort to show me that through reading, I can learn about the many experiences of all people. Reading helps me become a well-rounded person and teaches me about the world around me.

What she wishes older people understood about Gen Z: I think that adults especially need to remember that they were once kids and that they don’t have to always understand us but they should respect us and our ideas.

How she thinks Gen Z will change the world: I think that Gen Z will change the way we tell stories. One example is my friend Marsai Martin, who is working to put young black girls at the forefront of her storytelling.

Her favorite book: My favorite book is Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. It was one of the first books where I felt like my experiences were perfectly captured.

Her greatest accomplishment (so far): My greatest accomplishment was being able to change the curriculum in my local elementary school to include One Crazy Summer as a required book for fourth-grade students.

What she’ll be doing 10 or 20 years from now: I am not quite sure what I want to do, but I do know that I want to be happy and healthy and enjoy what I do.

Written by Elena Sheppard

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