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.”
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.
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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.
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.