book review: Marley Dias Gets It Done (and so can you!)

IMG_1971Title: Marley Dias Gets it Done
Author: Marley Dias
Date: Scholastic; January 2018

I hate that I couldn’t hear Marley Dias open ALAMidwinter because I would love to have had the opportunity to hear this dynamo speak. In 2015, Marley began an initiative she dubbed #1000BlackGirlbBooks because she wanted to see more books featuring African American girls in the curriculum. Her campaign took the need for diverse books public, and it took Marley, too.

In this her first book, Marley describes for others wanting be activists how they too can get it done. Dias has written a very comprehensive guide for young people that provides points on building a consistent profile, both online and off. ‘Young people’ here could be anyone as young as Marley to someone through there teen years. She’s written a ‘how to’ manual that is appropriate for those who have an idea or an interest but who doesn’t know where to start. And, there are many people out there with fantastic ideas, but lacking in the support, confidence, finances or other tools that help them follow their passion.

Dias provides practical examples that will help all readers, but the more mature will pick up on the attitudes that she incorporates into her text as well. She talks of dressing for success, her own delight in androgynous dressing, “mixing up the masculine and feminine, blurring the those boundaries—I’m cool with that” (p. 57) and here, she’s advising her readers to be open not just clothes, but to people.

The layout is bright, fresh and invigorating. My one criticism of the book are the sections at the beginning of the book with white print on yellow pages. There’s not enough contrast for people with visual disabilities to be able to read those pages. I found they were a bit easier to read in natural light, but they were still very difficult to read.

As more young people are becoming interested in activism and social justice, this is an important book for them to have available.