What were you like at 11 years old?
Were you trying to change the world?
Well, 11 year old Marley Dias appealed to the nation for #1000blackgirlbooks, in order to see herself and people like her in stories. Gathering huge support, the project grew from her frustration at only being given stories ‘about white boys and their dogs’.
According to statistics gathered by the Cooperative Children’s Book Centre, of 3,500 children’s books surveyed in 2014, just 84 were by Africans or African Americans, and just 180 featured African or African American characters. Marley wanted to read books with more black female protagonists.
“Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books?” wrote Walter Dean Myers, the late children’s author, in the New York Times in 2014. “Where are black children going to get a sense of who they are and what they can be? … I’m told that black children, and boys in particular, don’t read. Small wonder. There is work to be done.”