Marley Dias, named after reggae singer Bob Marley, is of Jamaican and Cape Verdean descent. She was born in Philadelphia and grew up in New Jersey. When Dias was age 11, she complained to her mother that all of her mandatory reading was books about white boys and dogs. She said, "There wasn't really any freedom for me to read what I wanted." After talking to her mother, Dias decided to start a book drive, #1000BlackGirlBooks, bringing more attention to literature featuring black female protagonists.
In 2017, Dias won Smithsonian Magazine's American Ingenuity Award in the Youth category.
Marley Dias' book drive focuses specifically on books in which black girls are the main characters, not minor or background characters. She launched a campaign called #1000BlackGirlBooks in 2015, with the goal to collect 1,000 books to donate for black girls. In just a few months, more than 9,000 books were collected. Many of these books have been sent to a children's book drive in Jamaica. The campaign also called public attention to the lack of diversity in children's literature.
After the campaign
Dias, whose project has been popular all over the world, has now written and published her own book, Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!. Marley wants to show the children all over the world that their wishes or dreams can come true. Scholastic Corporation, a global children's publishing company, announced that the book will be released in the spring of 2018. Marley said, "I think writing gives me creative freedom. I love just being able to do whatever I want. When I create a story, I can make it however funny, sad, or happy I want it to be."
She has recommended some books for younger readers:
- The Story of Ruby Bridges
- No Mirrors in My Nana's House
- Dear America
- Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Marley Dias appeared on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and as co-host of the Girls Can Do program. She interviewed people like Misty Copeland and Ava DuVernay for Elle.com. She has become the websıte's youngest editor.
- "11 Year Old Marley Dias Started A Book Drive 'Where Black Girls Are The Main Characters'". Vibe. 2016-01-27. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
- "This Is Marley Dias. She's 11. And She's on a Mission to Change the Publishing Industry". ELLE. 2016-01-27. Retrieved 2017-07-23.
- "2017 American Ingenuity Award Winners". Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian.
- Anderson, Meg, "Where's The Color In Kids' Lit? Ask The Girl With 1,000 Books (And Counting)", NPR, February 26, 2016.
- McGrath, Maggie. "From Activist To Author: How 12-Year-Old Marley Dias Is Changing The Face Of Children's Literature". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
- "Marley Dias, #1000BlackGirlBooks founder, gets book deal". NBC News. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
- "This Is Marley Dias. She's 11. And She's on a Mission to Change the Publishing Industry". ELLE. 2016-01-27. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
- "While some cities are removing Confederate symbolism, Richmond is not". NBC News. Retrieved 2017-07-24.