Marley Dias

The Wunderkind Who Launched #1000BlackGirlBooks

At just 13 years old, Marley Dias has already started a social media phenomenon, written her own book and been listed on the Forbes “30 Under 30.” As a sixth-grader, she launched #1000BlackGirlBooks, a campaign to collect books in which black girls are the main characters to encourage diverse stories inside schools. Her book, Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You, teaches kids how to use their gifts to make the world a better place. Oh, and she wound up collecting 11,000 books, not 1,000.

When did you realize what you wanted to do in your life?

“I realized I wanted to pursue social action and reading when I was younger because my parents always read to me. They showed me that reading is important and to always encourage others in your community to read as well. My love for social action was born when my parents began to tell me that I have a power to use my voice to speak out about things that can change the world.”

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

“My biggest accomplishment is being able to change curriculum in school districts across the country. And surpassing my goal to collect 1,000 books to now have collected over 11,000 books.”

What’s something you’d like people to know about you or your job that they probably don’t?

“Everyone should know that I still go to regular public school. I am an honors student, and I strive to work very hard on both the campaign and in school. I do a lot of balancing that people don’t necessarily see online. I also like to dance, swim and I even joined my school step team this year!”

What are you most grateful for?

“I am most grateful for the teachers, librarians and community members that I’ve seen stand up for diversity and equality.”

Desert island question: If you could bring only three things, what would they be?

“I would bring the book Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha), because it’s a really long book and it will keep me entertained while I am stranded on the desert island, my glasses (of course) and fuzzy socks! My feet get cold really easily.”

Whom do you admire more than anyone else?

“I admire my mom. She is the biggest reason I have so much confidence because she always told me that I have so much potential before anyone could tell me otherwise. She always reassures me that I have a lot of power and the skills to change the world.”

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