Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Meet Daliyah, the four-year-old bookworm who has read more than 1,000 books


2017 has a new hero: a four-year-old girl called Daliyah who loves reading so much that she has already devoured more than 1,000 books.

The miniature bookworm, who lives with her parents and two older siblings in Georgia, has always loved to read, and grew up listening to her mother read books to her elder siblings. She began recognising written words when she was just 18 months old, and was reading books independently before her third birthday.

“She wanted to take over and do the reading on her own,” her mother, Haleema Arana, told The Washington Post

“It kind of took off from there. The more words she learned, the more she wanted to read.”

Daliyah with the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden

Daliyah with the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden

The tot, who hopes to have read 1,500 books by the time she starts kindergarten this autumn, is well advanced for her age and has already read a number of college-age books. She frequently reads the book her 10 and 12-year-old siblings get given at school, with her parents saying she only asks for help if she gets stuck on a “big” word.

And her impressive reading abilities caught the attention of Carla Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress, who hosted the young girl during an extra special day at Washington’s Library of Congress (above), the world’s largest library and veritable treasure trove of books, earlier this week.

Read more: 100 best opening lines from children's books

Accompanied by Hayden, Daliyah took a tour of the library and even sat in on executive roundtable meetings, where she put forward the idea that the library should install whiteboards in the hallways so children have somewhere to practise their writing.

Brilliantly, her mother said staff at the library were hoping to make the idea a reality, while adding that Daliyah “kept saying how the Library of Congress is her most favorite, favorite, favorite library in the whole wide world”.

Hayden tweeted two images as a reminder of Daliyah’s visit (below), with one picture showing the pair strolling through the library in tandem, both with their hands behind their back. The little girl was dressed in a pink dress with matching hair bow and was clearly in awe of her tour guide.

Daliyah, who loves dinosaurs and says her favourite author is children’s writer Mo Willems, hopes to inspire other children to get reading by becoming a librarian – and she doesn’t want to wait until she grows up.

“I want to teach other kids to read at an early age, too,” she told local paper The Gainesville Times.

Read more: 'Winnie the Pooh' quotes for all moments in life

Now her parents are hoping their local library will one day allow Daliyah to be their “youngest librarian of the day”, with the aim of getting 1,000 new children to sign up for a library card – one for every book that Daliyah has read.

“She just wants to help her classmates learn to read,” her father told the paper.



The most exciting new reads of January 2017

night shift 3.jpg

Illustrator depicts how depression really feels in beautiful new book


The winner of the 2016 Costa Book Awards has been announced


St. Vincent is giving this iconic novel a feminist film makeover

The musician is giving an Oscar Wilde project a major twist

by Amy Swales
17 Aug 2017

Erm, so that Hunger Games theme park is actually happening

And we volunteer as tribute

by Susan Devaney
17 Aug 2017

Scientists reveal why we really love the smell of old books

The groaning book towers taking over the flat are definitely not our fault

by Amy Swales
14 Aug 2017

The life lessons we learned reading Jacqueline Wilson books

Because yes, they're still incredibly relevant to us as adults

by Megan Murray
11 Aug 2017

Step into your favourite book at one of these UK literary locations

If you're a book worm with a penchant for weekend breaks, steady yourself

by Megan Murray
10 Aug 2017

Pride and Prejudice is getting a dark, sexy and twisted TV makeover

And, yes, this TV adaptation is in excellent hands…

by Kayleigh Dray
08 Aug 2017

The 20 books that everyone’s obsessing over this summer

They’ve been selling out on Amazon all summer long

by Moya Crockett
07 Aug 2017

JK Rowling’s heartfelt tribute to Harry Potter’s Robert Hardy

Farewell, Cornelius Fudge

by Sarah Biddlecombe
04 Aug 2017

A Sweet Valley High film is coming and it’s in excellent hands

Your childhood self is pleading with mum for a ticket right about now

by Amy Swales
31 Jul 2017

10 blistering summer reads you need to read this August

Say hello to this summer’s best beach books

by Sarah Shaffi
28 Jul 2017