Girl behind #1000BlackGirlBooks gets dream job

We've shared before about Marley Dias, the New Jersey middle-school student who saw a dearth of books representing young black girls and decided to do something about it. She's collected thousands of books so far featuring black female protagonists—far exceeding even her own ambitious goal. And now, Dias has been named an editor-in-residence for, complete with Marley Mag, a publication inspired and spearheaded by Dias. We're so excited to see where this new opportunity leads: for Dias as well as for black girls and others everywhere who will now discover the strength, diversity, complexity, intelligence, joy, depth and more that black girls bring to books—and the world. - When Marley Dias started her #1000BlackGirlBooks social media campaign to collect books featuring black girls as main characters, she didn't expect to exceed her goal of a thousand books.

Dias, an Essex County middle-schooler, came up with the campaign last year after becoming frustrated with the lack of black, female main characters in books she had to read for school, the ones filled with "white boys and their dogs."

But the effort drew a surplus of books — more than 7,000 so far — and a significant amount of attention from national media. Marley wound up a guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and later got to meet Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama.

Now the 11-year-old from West Orange has been made an editor-in-residence for, which on Monday launched Marley Mag, a zine of her very own.

"When you see a character you can connect with, if they learn a specific lesson, you're more likely to apply that to your life," Dias told NJ Advance Media in January when talking about the impetus behind her book campaign. Dias, then a sixth grader at Thomas A. Edison Middle School, said her ultimate goal was to edit her own pop culture and lifestyle magazine.

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