Recently I came across the story of an 11 year old girl named Marley who, like my kids, is an avid reader. Marley noticed there weren't many books featuring girls much less girls her, girls of color.
11-year old Marley launched a campaign called #1000BlackGirlBooks with a mission to collect 1000 books about Black girls. To date, Marley has collected 7,000 books since November 2015.
I love our local library and their commitment to showcase books representative of our city. Our library has a children's library and a Teen Center and shelves full of books for every child. However, the challenge, as Marley noted, isn't so much at our local libraries, but school libraries. School libraries are often full of dated books and it can be difficult for children to find books featuring characters of color.
Nosey me checked and I was surprised to find so few books featuring girls like my daughter. Again, because we check out books from our local library so often I never really noticed the lack of diversity in my kid's school library.
Marley's website has a list of hundreds of books featuring Black girls and invites visitors to submit books not on the list. After perusing the list, I came across a book I'd love to see added to the list.
Three Boys and a Little Old Lady is donating our copy of Nina the Neighborhood Ninja to Marley's charity and hoping it will be added to her listing of #1000BlackGirlBooks. The book came out of author Sonia Panigrahy failing to find books featuring girls, particularly girls of color, portrayed for the superheroes they are. So what did she do...
How awesome is that! Talk about seeing a problem and finding a solution. The book is a fave of the Little Old Lady and she is really happy to share one of her favorite books so other girls will be able to see characters like them. Characters who are smart, kind, and fierce. *finger snap, neck roll*
Hear ye! Hear ye! Calling all girls to find their inner superhero!
Nina the Neighborhood Ninja is a creative and take-charge kind of little girl who is smart, strong and speedy. Fiona the Firefly is her loyal and trusty sidekick. She uses her brain and her muscles to complete rescue missions. She doesn't mind getting dirty and climbing trees. It's all part of the life of the everyday girl superhero.
Through teamwork and bravery, Nina and Fiona spend a typical day boldly rescuing animals in trouble: a baby bird fallen from its nest, a cat left out in the rain, and ‹ just when Nina thinks her work is done ‹ she¹s called to action again!
Through a narrative and interactive questions, young readers are encouraged to recognize that the traits of being smart, strong, and speedy exist within themselves. Young girls will find this book to be a positive affirmation that they too can be superheroes.
They always have been.
If you would like to learn more about Marley's efforts or more about the charity she started, visit http://grassrootscommunityfoundation.org/ or follow the #1000BlackGirlBooks.
Check your local library, bookstore or online retailers like Amazon to find books like Nina the Neighborhood Ninja and let's showcase diversity.