Marley Dias 
Janice Dias

Marley Dias is an 11-year-old Philadelphia native who, as an avid reader, noticed that there was a certain type of character prevalent in books and was tired of reading about certain topics.

Marley expressed to her mother the issues she had with books.

"I told her I was sick of reading about white boys and dogs," Dias told Philly Voice. " 'What are you going to do about it?’ [my mom] asked. And 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."


Creating a book drive is exactly what Marley did—and that's how #1000BlackGirlBooks was born.

Marley is collecting books with stories that primarily have black girls as characters, and so far she's collected more than 400 books; she has a goal of 1,000 by February. The books collected will be donated to a library in St. Mary, Jamaica, her mother's homeland.

Marley's book-collecting initiative is one of her activities with the Philadelphia-based GrassROOTS Community Foundation Super Camp, which was founded by Marley's mother, Janice, along with the Roots’ Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter.


Marley may be just 11, but she is already realizing the impact of community involvement and has some pretty ambitious career goals.

"I want to be a magazine editor for my own magazine," she stated. "And I'd also like to continue social action. For the rest of my life.”


It definitely looks as if she has a good start.

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