to lots of communities across the globe. My next big step is
the development of the Black Girl Book Club and an app where
we can link authors and readers to these books.
What are your goals for the #1000BlackGirlBooks
initiative? And what are some of your personal goals for
My goal for the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign is to create
systemic change across all school systems. I want there to be
diverse books that reflect the lives of every person, regardless of
whether or not they are in the majority. Some of my personal
goals are to have my resource guide actually help young authors
of black girl books share their stories, and to generally uplift
the community of authors who write diverse books.
Do you remember the first book starring a black girl that
you fell in love with? What have you been reading lately?
The first black girl book I fell in love with was most likely Please,
Puppy, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lee. I have recently been
reading P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han.
You have become a very visible social activist, appearing
on television and speaking at numerous conferences and
events. Do you have a favorite appearance or speaking
engagement so far?
One of my favorite speaking engagements so far was my NEA
national convention 2017 talk. I cowrote and performed a piece
of poetry in front of a very big audience. It was a really big deal
because I had overcome my huge fear of being very raw on stage.
How do you balance your busy activism with your
My health and schoolwork come first. I work hard to get lots
What has been the reaction of your friends
of sleep, but I probably work just as hard to spend time with
friends. Now that the book is finished I have plen-
ty more time to enjoy reading and playing with
my friends and dad. My mom and team share
things with me little by little so I don’t get over-
whelmed with all the things that have to hap-
and your hometown community to your
I have some friends who love to perform and wish
Have you recruited any of them to join your cause?
they were getting the attention I am getting. But that doesn’t
stop them from supporting me. In general, my friends have
been very supportive. They cheer for me and many of them
come to events to support me.
I have not directly recruited anyone. A lot of my friends I have
met through the GrassRoots Community Foundation’s Super-Camp, where they have had to do their own social action projects.
GCF has a community of girls in New Jersey and some in
Philadelphia who are working to change the world. We all pitch
in to help each other. We brainstorm and plan together.
What has it been like writing your book? What do you
hope young readers take away from it?
The process of writing a book is fun and hard work. I was writing
while traveling. I wrote on the Amtrak, in nail salons, on my
living room floor, at the kitchen table, and in my bedroom. I
think the book is amazing. Readers can expect a guide on how
to blend their passions and frustrations to make the world a
If you write more books, any idea what you want them to
Yes, I think my next book would most likely be about unsung
local heroes—their real lives and real impact.
Can you give us a hint about what the audience might
hear when you interview Patrisse Cullors at the ALA
The audience can expect to hear from Patrisse about the development of Black Lives Matter and the goals of their political
movement, as well as the role of reading in shaping their
Marley Dias at the New York Women’s Foundation’s
30th-Anniversary Celebrating Women Breakfast in May,
where she was honored with several other female leaders.
About Diverse Books