My Day With Marley Dias

I don’t even remember how she first came to my attention, but I’ve been a fan of Marley Dias (pronounced dye-as, not dee-az) for the past two years or so that she’s been in the public eye for her #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign. I often say, not even half joking, that if my own future kiddo isn’t going to be as awesome as this girl or more so, I will not be doing the reproducing. I love bright, bold, articulate, adventurous, confident, proactive kids who seem like they know exactly why they’re here and just go about doing it. I was never that child, and I’m still not that adult, so I’m always fascinated by these prodigies and just want them to teach me their ways.

Marley and her parents, Dr Janice Johnson Dias and Scott Dias, were here in March for the Kingston Book Festival, and I got the opportunity to follow them around for a mini school tour and interview sessions, as well as attend the official international launch of her first book Marley Dias Gets It Done – And So Can You. I got to watch this wunderkind at work as she read to and chatted with basic school kids (and managed to hold their attention for the most part!) and listen as she shared the story behind her book and how it is a tool to help inspire other kids to change the world around them. At the launch, I watched her leave a room full of kids and adults enraptured as she spoke passionately about the need for equity in terms of representation and other aspects of life. I was planning to broadcast her remarks live on my IG page, but I just sat there with my mouth hanging open and totally forgot to start recording until about halfway through.

She is 13 years old. Thirteen. And already a force of nature. At 13, I was just… there, mostly trying to be invisible. I wish I’d had someone around me to see something in me (besides being a good student) and nurture it. I wish we all did. I especially wish all our children today did, because this world issa whole mess and I’m honestly glad I’m not growing up in this day and age. In speaking with Marley’s parents, what stood out most for me was the intention with which she is being raised and how they give her space to just be herself and be a kid. That being said, you shoulda heard some of the big arguments she was dropping in a casual conversation with her parents and members of the KBF team over lunch. Chisos! I just sat there swiveling my head from person to person as they talked, wondering when will I ever. 😆

Anyhoo, I didn’t follow the Dias trio around just to hang out and eavesdrop. I wrote three articles about their visit, which have just been published on the Do Good Jamaica blog. Today is Read Across Jamaica Day, so what better time is there to share? Check out the articles at the links below:

Also, check out this video interview in which Marley chats with Alexandra Anderson, who is also 13. This was done at the end of a long day of readings and appearances. Marley was a little tired and hungry, but she opted to shoot the interview before having a late lunch (blame traffic). They did this in a single take, y’all. No rehearsal, no mistake, no stopping, just *boom*. #micdrop

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