Alumna Marley Dias visits St. Cloud to donate classroom books

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Edison Middle School student Marley Dias returned to St. Cloud Elementary School on March 3 to deliver several sets of classroom books provided by Scholastic as well as books from her internationally successful #1000blackgirlbooks campaign.

Marley, dressed in pink bunny pajamas to celebrate with St. Cloud students for Read Across America week, also brought with her Jacqueline Woodson, author of “Brown Girls Dreaming,” and Rita Williams Garcia, author of “One Crazy Summer.” Both authors read to students from their books, mesmerizing the audience.

Janice Johnson-Dias, Marley’s mother, and members of the GrassROOTS Community Foundation were on hand to assist with activities and take photos. Superintendent Jeff Rutzky and Board of Education member Sandra Mordecai also attended the assembly, which included fourth- and fifth-grade students.

St. Cloud Principal Eric Price welcomed Marley and guests, noting, “Marley was an exceptionally caring student at St. Cloud, and we are proud of her.”

Marley enthusiastically thanked Scholastic for its “gracious donations” of books with black girls as main characters. “I hope these books will become something to remember,” she said.

A “Book Relay Race” provided student interaction and fun with the books provided by #1000blackgirlbooks, and PTA Treasurer Sherille Scott Raymond gave flowers to Dias and authors Woodson and Garcia.

Classroom sets donated by Scholastic include “President of the Whole Fifth Grade,” “Almost Zero,” “One Love,” “Ninth Ward,” “Wedding Drama,” “Sugar,” “Ruth and the Green Book,” “Sugar Plum Ballerinas” and “One Crazy Summer.”

For more information on Marley Dias, #1000blackgirlbooks and the GrassROOTS Community Foundation, go here.