Spreading the Word
PW talks with activist Marley Dias
BY SHANNON MAUGHAN
At the age of 12, Marley Dias is already a social activist to be reckoned with. When she saw that her West Orange, N.J., elementary school was lacking in diverse books—particularly those featuring black girls—she found a way to
address the problem, and her #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign
was born. Her efforts have drawn accolades from around the
world and major media attention. Dias has now written a book,
Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! (Scholastic Press,
spring 2018), in which she offers advice to readers who want
to follow her example.
For the opening session at the ALA Midwinter Meeting on
February 9, Dias will be interviewing Patrisse Cullors, cofounder
of the Black Lives Matter
movement. We asked Dias
to reflect on her activism
and publishing journey so
far, and to share some of
her future goals.
What inspired you
to create the
campaign? How did
you put it together?
Realizing that the access
that I had to diversity
was not a reality for most
students was the biggest thing that personally inspired me to
create this campaign. My elementary school did not provide
enough diverse resources for students. I started by sharing my
desire to see things change, then I came up with a name for the
project. Then with the help of my mother’s foundation, the
GrassRoots Community Foundation, we shared it with the
world through social media. I came up with a question to pose
to people. I asked them to find books where black girls were the
main characters and then send a copy to me. When I got the
books, we posted them again on social media, specifically on
Instagram and Twitter. My mother, father, and close friends also
shared it through their social media accounts.
Can you give us an update on the campaign? How many
books have been collected and donated?
I have collected more than 10,000 books. And we have donated © a