Marley Dias. Photo: Andrea Cipriani Mecchi.

Over the last year, our own Junior Girl Tia Shah, has been writing an amazing column about trailblazing girls throughout history. This new Incredible Girls column is in that vein, only this column is about contemporary girls under the age of 25 who are doing awe-inspiring and significant things in the world. Every Friday in 2019, we are going to post a column detailing the life of an Incredible Girl and why you should know about her. Without further ado, here is our first girl, 14-year-old Marley Dias.

You might know about Marley Dias from her wildly popular and super important social activist campaign, #1000BlackGirlBooks. You might have seen her on Twitter, read about her in Forbes Magazine, or right here on Girl Museum. You might have read her debut book, Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You, published by Scholastic last year — acclaimed Hollywood director, writer and activist Ava DuVernay wrote the introduction. Marley Dias is doing some important work, and she has been mobilizing for change since she was 11 years old.

Dias is best known for her social activism movement, #1000BlackGirlBooks, which she launched in 2016. She was fed up with only reading about “white boys and dogs” in English class, and decided to start her own book drive. Dias’s goal for the book drive was to collect 1,000 books with black girls as the main characters. Her book drive soon went viral on social media and the drive collected more than 10,000 books thus far.

The guide, for readers 10+, discusses how kids can use their passion to capture the attention of the media and policy makers to affect change. In the “keep-it-real” guide, Dias talks about her literary activism and the importance of literacy and diversity. The book also explores activism, social justice, volunteerism and equity and inclusion. “Drawing from her experience, Marley shows kids how they can galvanize their strengths to make positive changes in their communities, while getting support from parents, teachers, and friends to turn dreams into reality. Focusing on the importance of literacy and diversity, Marley offers suggestions on book selection, and delivers hands-on strategies for becoming a lifelong reader.” With political upheaval all over the world, the activism guide will stand as a way to educate young people to speak out for what they believe in. A guide like this is vital, not just to children, but to their parents. Hopefully it will serve as a reminder to all adults to continue to work toward a better world for their children.

Marley has spoken at the United State of Women Summit with Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, she has curated a list of #1000BlackGirlBooks along with an educators’ guide, and she has traveled the country speaking with parents, teachers and legislators about the importance of diverse books and characters — again, representation matters, and seeing yourself reflected in the media that you consume matters. Marley was also featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2018, which is pretty incredible for a 13-year-old!

In an interview last year, Marley said that her goal is to collect and distribute 1 million black girl books to libraries and communities across the globe, as well as to create an app to help facilitate that, and possibly a book club on a global scale. She is a pretty incredible girl, and we can’t wait to see what she tackles next!

-Sage Daugherty
Associate Editor
Girl Museum Inc.

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