Sunday, March 25, 2018

Inspiring youth activism: Marley Dias Gets It Done--And So Can You! (ages 10-14)

I have been so inspired by the groundswell of youth activism--the March for Our Lives this past weekend was incredible. I participated in San Francisco, and my eldest was in DC for the march. I especially found this speech by 11 year old Naomi Wadler brave and inspiring.

Are you and your kids inspired by this call to action? As adults, we need to support our kids to help create the changes they want to see. I highly recommend Marley Dias Gets It Done--and So Can You! Marley Dias shares her experience as a young activist advocating for diversity in the books in her school.

Marley Dias Gets It Done--And So Can You!
by Marley Dias
Scholastic, 2018
Amazon / Your local library / Google Books preview
ages 10-14
*best new book*
At the age of ten, Marley Dias launched the #1000blackgirlbooks book drive campaign. She was frustrated by the lack of diversity in books her teachers were asking her to read, and she decided to collect a thousand books featuring black girls as the protagonist. Marley's positive attitude and youthful energy radiates in this guide to becoming an activist.
"During my travels I have met thousands of kids like me who are passionate about their own causes, who have dreams they want to make come true, and who are ready to do something. I'm eager to share my story with them and you."
Marley makes her story personal, showing how she developed her passion for her cause and then turned that commitment into action. I love her conversational tone: "But hold up. Wait a minute, Marley, slow down. I'm getting ahead of myself, as usual." How's this for telling it straight:
"Plus, to get basic about it: How can educators expect kids to love, instead of dread, reading when they never see themselves in the stories they're forced to read?"
Marley encourages readers to find their passion and make it personal. She shows how she used social media to get the word out and convince others to join her. She covers topics ranging from how to stay strong to the importance of keeping your phone charge to her mantra: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

I especially appreciate how Marley talks about her love of fashion and hairstyles. One librarian friend talked about how her kids love paging through this, debating which outfit they like best. Marley would totally love that. "Yes, you can like school and style simultaneously." She writes directly about her hair, her love of different hairstyles, and the importance of being a role model for other black girls.
"Black girl hair has so many different meanings. So much history...The way I style it expresses my creativity. The way it can transform into different beautiful shapes from one day to the next symbolizes my grace. All girls deserve to know how empowering that feels, to embrace their natural state and love it for everything it is."
The audiobook, narrated by Damaras Obi, brings her sparkling personality and upbeat writing directly to the reader. I recommend reading and listening to this, because the layout and design of the print book is so engaging. The photographs of Marley pop and highlight her magnetic spirit. Quotes are called out in catchy boxes, and sidebars give extra information.

Marley's call to action is contagious. She believes in young readers, and she shows how we can work together to create real change. As a friend at yesterday's march told me, the children of today are going to create real changes in our world.

The review copy came from my local library; I listened to the audiobook on Tales2Go. I have already purchased several copies for our school libraries. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2018 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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