At just 12-year-old, Marley Dias, founder of the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign, which collects and distributes books featuring characters of diverse backgrounds, because the youngest speaker at this years ABC Children's Institute. She participated in a discussion with Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books & Music, during the featured talk “Inspiring Readers to Enact Change.” Over the course of an hour, Diaz, whose first book, Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You!, will be published by Scholastic on January 30, 2018, talked about her journey from New Jersey tween to viral activist sensation.
The young black activist told booksellers that the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign was born from her desire to see more titles with diverse characters on her school’s reading list. In 2015, as a sixth grader at Saint Cloud Elementary School in West Orange, New Jersey, Dias was tired of seeing so many books about “white boys and their dogs,” and not enough books involving characters of other races, genders, and identities. Although she enjoys such classic books as Shiloh and Where the Red Fern Grows,Dias said that there are equally good books about black girls and other non-white, non-male protagonists that kids should be reading, such as Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, and President of the Whole Fifth Grade by Sherri Winston.