Congratulations and kudos to fifth-grade reader Marley Dias for exceeding her goal of collecting 1,000 books with black girl protagonists to donate to her school in New Jersey and to the parish in Jamaica where her mom grew up.
“I started this because in my fifth-grade class I was only able to read books about white boys and their dogs. I understood that my teacher could connect with those characters, so he asked us to read those books. But I didn’t relate to them, so I didn’t learn lessons from those stories,” Dias told the Guardian.
Librarians often talk about children’s and teen fiction as being windows and mirrors–windows to other cultures and places the reader is not familiar with, but also mirrors reflecting back young readers’ own lives as they shape their identity. What a long overdue service Marley is offering to all readers, regardless of their gender or race–windows and mirrors into the lives of black girls.
Thanks for your efforts, Marley!
(To learn more about Marley’s story, and to read her list of favorite books, check out this public radio story).