Awesome 12-year-old founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks gets own book deal

Posted by
Sarah Biddlecombe
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Even among the bleakness that is 2017 so far, pockets of good news can still be found.

And today’s inspiration comes via Marley Dias, an awesome 12-year-old who kickstarted a global literacy movement and has just announced that she has secured her very own book deal.

Dias, a school student living in New Jersey, founded #1000BlackGirlBooks last year in an effort to collect 1,000 books where black girls are the main character.

Now, having collected some 8,000 books to date, she will be adding her own nonfiction tome to the pile, with children’s book publisher Scholastic snapping up the rights to her first literary offering.

In a statement released by the publisher, Dias said she “so excited” to be writing the book, and that she wanted to spread a “message of diversity, inclusion and social action”.

The pint-sized powerhouse, who loves sushi and dancing, hopes to one day edit her own magazine.

And her book, which will be aimed at children aged 10 and above, will have a theme of activism in the form of a “keep-it-real guide".

Scholastic described it as showing children “how to make their own dreams come true”, with Dias telling how she “turned her passion into a literacy crusade that has captured the attention of the media, policymakers, and young people throughout the world".

Dias originally started #1000BlackGirlBooks back in November 2015 when she was just 11 years old.

She launched the initiative after becoming bored of her school’s reading syllabus, which featured mainly “white boys and dogs”. Spurred into action, she pledged to start a social media campaign to collect 1,000 books featuring a black female lead.

“I told [my mom] I was sick of reading about white boys and dogs,” she said in an interview with The Cut.

“I told her I was going to start a book drive, and a specific book drive, where black girls are the main characters in the book and not background characters or minor characters.”

The young girl, who also volunteers at a Ghanaian orphanage in her spare time, certainly made waves with the project, gaining support from literary giants Barnes & Noble and receiving book donations from authors including Jacqueline Woodson and Rita Williams-Garcia. She was also honoured at Variety’s Power of Women event for the project.

She far exceeded her target collection of 1,000 books and has been donating inspiring reads to the orphanage where she volunteers. 

She also spoke at the White House’s first United State of Women Conference last June, where she shared the stage with Michelle Obama (below) and Oprah.

Overall, a job very well done.