Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! Book Poster Image
Upbeat guide to activism by inspiring teen phenom.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

How-to offers advice and concrete steps kids and teens can take to make positive changes in their lives, community, and the world. Vocabulary words like "sociology," "coalition," and "dynamic" defined. Brief biographical facts about figures such as Ruby Bridges and Bob Marley. Brief historical events explained like the Selma-Montgomery marches. Explains why reading is important, and why diverse representation in books is important. Many resources for further information and advice provided, including a guide to books with black girls as main characters. Travel experiences in Ghana including cultural insights. 

Positive Messages

You can make a difference. You have the power to change things. Your voice and your life matter. Black girls' stories deserve a wide audience. Reading is important for opening your mind to new ideas and feelings, as well as for learning how to get things done. School reading lists, and literature in general, should be diverse and represent lots of different people and life experiences. If you see a problem or something that could make the world a better place, get out and do something about it. Creating change is a marathon, not a sprint, so you have to be patient. Let's face it, people judge you by your appearance, so it's worth taking some time to consider how you present yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Marley's a great role model for working hard to change something that was really bothering her about her school's reading list. She took action, never gave up, and accepted lots of help. She's going to keep working hard to make the world a better place. She loves diversity and wants to be exposed to a wide range of people and experiences. She's mindful of giving to others who need help. She excels in school and loves to read, explaining why it's important and offering well-researched tips and advice on how to become an avid reader. She's also a bit of a fashionista, even a guest editor for elle.com. Her fashion messages are mostly positive about having fun and dressing to make yourself happy or comfortable, based on the idea that people judge you by how you look. Her parents are great role models for community activism, encouragement, healthy discussions about disagreements, teaching healthy self esteem, and unfailing support of Marley's efforts to bring about change as well as keeping her everyday life on track.

Violence

Brief mention of how to handle cyberbullies and trolls, and what to do if you see someone being bullied.

Language

Mention that she hears lots of profanity in everyday life, especially on Spotify. Makes a case for being allowed access to stronger content, especially when it comes to language, and argues that parents should use those times when kids are exposed to stronger content to talk with their kids about it instead of trying to shield them from it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! is a collection of advice for big kids and tweens who see something they want to change in their lives, communities, or the world. She's the force and vision behind the viral #1000blackgirlbooks movement because she wants to see more people like her represented in school reading lists. She and her parents are terrific role models for creating positive change, taking action, academic achievement, love of reading, self confidence, and healthy self-esteem. Positive messages will make kids feel like they matter, and that they're capable of doing great things. There's brief mention of how Marley dealt with online trolls, and what to do if you see someone being bullied. She makes a case for being allowed access to stronger content, especially when it comes to language, and using chances as they come up to talk about them.

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What's the story?

In MARLEY DIAS GETS IT DONE: AND SO CAN YOU! we get lots of tips and advice from the now-teen girl behind the viral #1000blackgirlbooks movement. Marley talks about how the idea came to her, and encourages kids to find something they're passionate about, or something they'd like to change, and take action to make positive changes happen. She talks about how her parents help her, and even offers advice to parents and educators about how to foster a love of reading in their kids and students. A huge reader herself, Marley also explains the value of reading, why she loves it so much, and provides lots of resources and suggestions for finding great books and how kids can learn more about problems they'd like to solve.

Is it any good?

This upbeat, encouraging, and inspirational advice book will get big kids and tweens thinking about how their voices matter and how they can bring about positive changes they're passionate about. Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! is lively, engaging, and chock full of good information, advice, and tips that'll make kids feel powerful and confident in themselves. She's easy to relate to because she's down-to-earth, and her enthusiasm is very infectious.

Some of the layouts may confuse or distract younger readers when they have to flip through two or three page turns to continue a sentence past an extended sidebar; some of the background and text color combinations make it a little tough to make out the words. But the bright, colorful pages and many pictures of Marley, her life, and her outfits will keep readers engaged, as will Marley's positive, relatable voice.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Marley Dias Get It Done: And So Can You! inspires kids. What advice that Marley gives inspires you, or makes you feel like you could help make the world better? How is she a good role model?

  • Do you love to read like Marley does? What are your favorite books? If you're not a big reader, do you think you'll try some of her tips to become one?

  • What do you think are Marley's strongest messages? What's your takeaway after reading the book? 

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