Marley Dias surrounded by her books.

I always love hearing about young girls creating a meaningful difference in some way, so when I read that Marley Dias had created a book drive for books with main characters who are black girls I was very excited.

11-year-old Marley, who is from West Orange, New Jersey, had grown frustrated with the books her class was reading in school because they seemed to all be about white boys and their dogs. She couldn’t relate to these books at all. So she decided to do something about it and start collecting books about black girls. People have supported her so much with her project that she quickly passed her goal of collecting 1000 books. As her story was shared again and again in the news, she received more donations. Barnes & Noble has donated many books to her cause, and she has even received a $10,000 gift from Shutterfly on the talk show Ellen.

This kind of campaign is very important because usually a school’s curriculum doesn’t include a reading list with a lot of diversity. How are young girls supposed to relate to what they are reading when all they are reading about are white boys and their dogs? With this new reading list girls have access to all sorts of books that promote diversity and celebrate girlhood, and that is certainly something I support.

If you are interested in learning more about Marley’s book drive, the first 700 books are listed here. For some more specific recommendations, Marley’s current favorite books from her list 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.

Happy reading!

-Audrey Purvis
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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