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1000 Black Girl Books Resource Guide

A resource guide created from the #1000blackgirlbooks campaign led by Marley Dias.

Photo Credit: Andrea Cipriani Mecchi

1000 Black Girl Books Resource Guide

This resource guide was created from the #1000blackgirlbooks campaign led by Marley Dias who has now collected over 9000 books. The guide includes some of those books that have been catalogued into an easy to find database. This information here is appropriate for youth, parents, educators, schools, and libraries.

Photo Credit: Andrea Cipriani Mecchi

This resource guide was created in direct response to the multiple requests made by educators, parents and students. Like Marley Dias, so many of you have asked for books with black girls as the main characters. And because of you, we have received thousands of books. Here we are sharing with you the first 700 book titles.  We have not yet catalogued all the books. As a small organization with only two full-time staff, our resources are limited.  Beginning in April, each month we will provide you with updates of new book titles.


This resource includes words of welcome from Marley Dias, Creator of the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign. It also includes comments from Dr. Lauren Wells, Chief Education Officer, City of Newark who offers us tips on how we can foster and promote reading and literacy among our children.


As the President and Co-Founder of GrassROOTS Community Foundation, I have added a few words and call to action to the guide. My charge to parents and caregivers is a simple one: listen to your children, encourage them as well as promote their reading and literacy skills. Reading is a pathway to freedom and liberty. As caregivers it is our responsibility to develop the imagination of children so that they can dream, create and structure opportunities for freedom and equity.


We have reviewed the titles and descriptions of books to ensure that they fit the criterion of having a black girl as the main characters. We have also catalogued the books by reading level.  This time-consuming task would not be possible without your financial donation to hire some interim part-time staff. We could not do it without all of you who donated, our volunteers and the librarians from West Orange Public Library.


Each month we will update the list and continue to serve as an information repository for Black Girl Books.


If you know of a black girl book, not listed here, please send us a copy so we can add it to our collection. We would like to see this list grow. Our address is:


GrassROOTS Community Foundation
59 Main Street
Suite 323
West Orange, NJ 07052


Financial donations are always welcomed. All donations are tax-deductible.


Thank you.

Welcome to the #1000blackgirlbooks Resource Guide. I started this campaign because I wanted to read more books where black girls are the main characters. With your help we have collected over 4000 books; many of them are have the same title, but we do have lots of unique ones as well. This guide includes 700 of those books and more is coming.


I believe black girl books are really important because when you are young you want to read lots of books, but you especially like to read books with people that look like you. While I have books at home about black girls, the books at school were not diverse. Children do most of their reading in schools or because of schools. Teachers assign books that you must read. If those books are not diverse and do not show different people’s experiences then kids are going to believe that there is only one type of experience that matters. Also, if books are not diverse then kids will not learn about the experiences of other members in their community.


I love reading and I love reading all kinds of books. I think it is important that if we want the world to be a better place where everyone feels welcomed and understood then we must sure that children have books about black girls, and all kinds of people, not just white boys and dogs.


Black girl books are not just for black girls; they are for all children because not all black girl stories are the same. Teachers, school boards and parents need to make sure that all children have access to these stories. I hope this list of books will help you learn more about the diverse experiences of black girls. And I hope you enjoy and remember to keep reading.



Marley Dias

Sadly, in today’s society we often lack the imagination to deal with some of the most deeply rooted social issues. Family and work obligations as well as our biases can stunt our imaginations; however, as adults it is our charge to foster the imagination of our youth. Marley Dias has an active sociological imagination. She imagined a world where black girls are the main, not minor, characters in children’s books. She thought she was dealing with a personal matter, but she quickly learned from the outpouring response from the public that her personal problem is in fact an engrained social issue. Children’s literature in the United States and abroad is homogeneous and exclusionary. Black girls are underrepresented and in many cases missing. Girls of color are almost completely absent relative to the majority culture.


As caregivers of children we must nurture our children’s imaginations and equip them with the resources so they can be emboldened to act. The GrassROOTS Community Foundation through Super Camp enhances girls’ sociological imagination and teaches them confidence grounded in the knowledge of history and self-hood so that they feel confident enough to feel like they can create change in their communities. Each year GrassROOTS encourages girls to develop a social action project. We choose the words social and action carefully. We want our children to understand themselves as social actors, connected to the world. In addition, we teach our girls that to achieve justice they must ACT. The #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign is Marley’s 2015 social action project. As Marley’s mom and the President of GrassROOTS Community Foundation, I have learned first hand what can happen when we foster and promote children’s love of reading, educate them about their community, and their desire to create social change as well as fan the flames of their sociological imaginations.


Dr. Janice Johnson Dias
President & Co-Founder
GrassROOTS Community Foundation

A love of reading is the most important legacy we can offer to our children and our students. Reading opens windows to new ideas, peoples, places, and experiences.  Reading also provides mirrors for students to see themselves and their lives reflected in the characters they meet in books. Reading builds vocabulary and background knowledge, empowering children with the tools needed to express themselves and think about the world around them. Nurturing joyful reading in children primes their brains for lifelong learning and develops important social emotional skills like stamina, reflection, and empathy.  As we build readers, we must make reading pleasurable and help children understand that reading is a skill that builds over time.


Here are a few tips for parents and educators to create environments that invite children to confidently embrace and fall in love with stories and books.


Tips for parents:

  • Model reading. Read, read, read to your child, with your child, or in front your child every day.
  • Immerse your child in books. Transform your entire home into a reading zone by placing books in every room.
  • Affirm your child’s culture, language, and race by choosing books and stories with characters, places, and experiences that reflect their background.
  • Awaken your child to new ideas, places, people, or experiences in books and stories by asking them questions and always answering the question they have.
  • Empower your child by allowing them to choose books to read, whether based on what interests them or on book covers and titles.
  • Arm your child by always leaving home with books. When your child gets older ask them if they have a book before leaving for school, the doctor, or a long ride.
  • Cultivate your child’s use of language and words. Talk with your child about what is happening in their lives and the world around them.
  • Build your child’s ability to make connections. When you watch television or movies, make connections to characters or ideas in books you have read together.
  • Expand your child’s reading beyond fiction. Children have great curiosity about events taking place in the world, plants, animals, and people. It’s never too early to expose them to historical fiction or non-fiction books.
  • Advocate for curricula, partnerships, books, and resources for classrooms and schools that are culturally relevant and responsive.


Tips for educators:

  • Model reading. Read, read, read to your students, with your students, or in front your students every day.
  • Immerse school culture in talk about books. Book talks over the intercom, book clubs, social media chats, and school-wide read alouds are a few ways to do this.
  • Affirm your students’ culture, language, and race by integrating books and stories with characters, places, and experiences that reflect their backgrounds into the curriculum.
  • Awaken students as participants in their own learning by having them create reading goals for themselves, for example, minutes of reading, chapters read, and reading new genres.
  • Empower students by allowing them to choose books based on what interests them or on book covers and titles.
  • Arm your students with the power of their own language and stories by providing them with multiple ways to make personal connections to the texts they read.
  • Cultivate independent reading by creating comfortable reading spaces throughout schools. Classrooms, cafeterias, libraries, and cozy nooks in hallways are all fair game.
  • Build classroom libraries of interesting, appropriate, and relevant fiction and non-fiction texts.
  • Expand your reading beyond fiction. Students have great curiosity about events taking place in the world, plants, animals, and people. Use historical fiction or non-fiction books as tools to capture this interest.
  • Advocate for curricula, partnerships, books, and resources for classrooms and schools that are culturally relevant and responsive.


Dr. Lauren Wells
Chief Education Officer
City of Newark

Want to support the #1000BlackGirlBooks Campaign?

1000 Black Girl Books Database

Choose a reading level using the filter on the left side or leave this option alone and you can download the entire book database by using the options on the right side. Download options are NOT available in mobile or tablet devices. These broad categories are designed to facilitate the process of locating books. Please do not use them to categorize children’s, youth’s or adults’ intellectual capacity.

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