25 young people making noise for social progress

11 of 26

Marley Dias

When Marley Dias was in sixth grade, she complained to her mom that all the required books in her school were about white boys and dogs. She didn’t get to read about girls like her. But then she did something about it.

Dias was frustrated that she wasn’t able to read what she wanted in school and that there weren’t very many books that focused on black girls like her that she could relate to.

So back in 2015 when she was just 10, Dias started the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign, which is a book drive of books that have black girl protagonists to donate to black girls. The campaign not only got incredible books to kids in need, but it also put a spotlight on the serious lack of representation and diversity in children’s literature.

And you could say Dias’ campaign was a success. Rather than 1,000 books, Dias has collected more than 10 times that!

Now Dias is 13 and she hasn’t stopped working. Dias has been continuing with her activism, has become a public speaker, was listed on Forbes’ 30 under 30 list, and even became an author herself, writing a book titled Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!

“This [gap] hurts all of us,” Dias previously said of the lack of representation in children’s literature. “I’m working to create a space where it feels easy to include and imagine black girls and make black girls like me the main characters of our lives.”