Out of her love for reading books, and the frustration she got from finding very few books which featured girls of colour, 11-year-old book enthusiast Marley Dias embarked on a campaign which has landed her her dream job. By a dream job, I mean an Editor-in-Chief to her own digital zine called Marley Mag. The magazine which is a collaboration with Elle Magazine will feature on the Elle site.
Marley Dias with the support of her family and community launched #1000BlackGirlBooks. She created the campaign to collect 1000 books with young Black female protagonists. Marley wanted something different, something which talked about girls of her kind. That is how she started a movement that inspired people she didn’t even know.
“It was the desire to see black girls and our experiences in the books that I was given to read at school that forced me to speak my truth. I launched 1000BlackGirlBooks, a book drive to collect the stories of women of color. (To donate, click here!) It took a little while, but I started a movement that inspired people I didn’t even know. I went on TV and was interviewed for some of my favorite websites, including ELLE.com. During our conversation, I said I wanted to edit a magazine some day. I didn’t expect it to happen so fast! A few months later, ELLE.com invited me to create a zine for the website,” said Marley Dias in her Editor’s Letter.
That’s how Marley Dias worked her way up from being a book nerd to occupying a position mostly held by adults. Her journey has brought her in contact with some really powerful women like Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama.
“My passion for books has changed my life. Between school, homework, tests, and play time with my friends, I have worked my butt off to create this space where black girls’ stories are read and celebrated in schools and libraries. I have collected more than 7,000 books, been on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, been honored at events, and even met Oprah and the fantastic Michelle Obama. And yet I am still just a girly tomboy who drinks Blue Raspberry Coolattas, builds Play-Doh people, and watches cat videos.”
We presume this is a lot of work for her, but she’s ready to face the challenges. Well, at eleven I read almost all African novels I came across, developed an interest in drawing and painting (which I somehow dropped along the way). Please share with us in the comment section below what you were doing at the age of eleven.