Eleven-year-old Marley Dias told her mom she was "sick of reading books about white boys and dogs."
The sixth grader from New Jersey told The Huffington Post that she loves to read, but that she has a hard time relating to the characters in the required books she reads in school because she has nothing in common with them.
I was frustrated... in fifth grade where I wasn't reading [books with] a character that I could connect with.
Her mom, Janice Dias, asked Marley what she planned on doing about it. At first, Marley said that she decided to create a book guide which would feature black characters, but she ultimately decided to take her idea a step further. So she initiated #1000BlackGirlBooks in November, a book drive where she collected books in which black girls were the main characters -- not the sidekicks or background characters.
Marley, who works with her mom's organization GrassROOTS Community Foundation, plans to collect 1000 books by Feb. 1, to donate to children. On Feb. 11, she'll travel to her mom's hometown, St. Mary, Jamaica, to host a book festival and give the books to schools and libraries. Marley said she hopes this book drive helps more young black girls read about characters they can relate to. So far, she's collected nearly 500 books.
I know there's a lot of black girl books out there, I just haven't read them. So if we started this I would find them and other people would be able to read them, as well.
I write everyday," she said, in reference to her blog. Marley said she wants to become a magazine editor when she grows up and she hopes to maybe even write a book of her own for young girls like her one day.