12-Year-Old Marley Dias wants to teach kids activism with new book

Book will explore social justice, volunteerism and how to use social media for good.

Yesha Callahan, The Root | 2/15/2017, 9:07 a.m.
Book will explore social justice, volunteerism and how to use social media for good.
Marley Dias (Photo: Scholastic)

Last year, when she was just 11 years old, Philadelphia native Marley Dias made it her mission to hold a book drive featuring books in which black girls were the main characters. Marley launched #1000BlackGirlBooks with the help of the Philadelphia-based GrassROOTS Community Foundation Super Camp, which was founded by Marley’s mother, Janice, along with the Roots’ Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter. In total, Marley donated 1,000 books to Retreat School in the Parish of Saint Mary, Jamaica, where her mother grew up, as well as the Henry C. Lea School in Philadelphia, Speedway Academies in Newark, N.J., Renzuli Academy in Connecticut, and St. Cloud Elementary in West Orange, N.J.

Since that effort, Marley has literally been everywhere. From doing a stint as an editor for Elle.com that included her own mini zine Marley Mag to public speaking engagements, to being honored at BET’s Black Girls Rock! with a M.A.D. (Making a Difference) Award. It’s safe to say Marley isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But now she wants to make a bigger impact in the world of social justice by teaching kids and teens activism by publishing an activism guide with Scholastic.

“Through her smarts and ingenuity, she’s delivered a jolt of inspiration that’s sent an unstoppable shockwave to kids everywhere who’ve stood up with Marley to shout ‘Yes!’ to the power of positive action. In this book, Marley will share her dynamic wisdom with readers everywhere. We’re thrilled to welcome her to the Scholastic family,” said Andrea Davis Pinkney, vice president, executive editor of Scholastic.

In the book, targeted to kids 10 years old and up, Marley will tell how she’s turned her passion into a literacy crusade that has captured the attention of the media, policymakers and young people throughout the world. It will explore social justice, volunteerism, activism and using social media for good.

“I am so excited to be doing this book with Scholastic,” said Marley in a press release. “All my friends can probably only name one publishing house and that is Scholastic; they are everywhere. Scholastic is the perfect partner for spreading my message of diversity, inclusion and social action.”

Marley’s book will be published in spring 2018 by Scholastic Press.