Matilda, meet your match. At only 4 years old, Daliyah Arana of Gainesville, GA has already read more than 1,000 books. Yes, 1,000 books.
Daliyah’s parents told the Washington Post that she was learning to read before she was even born, explaining that her mother would read books to her other children every day while she was pregnant. When Daliyah was a baby, she would listen as her brother read, soaking up all the literary magic. By the time she was 18 months old, she could recognize certain words.
At this point, her mother Haleema Arana says, “She wanted to take over and do the reading on her own. It kind of took off from there. The more words she learned, the more she wanted to read.”
Before her third birthday, Daliyah read her first book on her own. (To put this in perspective — most children do not learn how to read until they are at least 4 of 5!) Not only has this little book lover learned to read extraordinarily early, but she has even managed to read college-level texts.
To no one’s surprise, Daliyah wants to be a librarian when she grows up. So, after shadowing one of her local librarians, Haleema wrote to the Library of Congress. The request was vetted by Carla Hayden, the library’s first African-American librarian, who thought it would be a wonderful idea if Daliyah came for a visit. She even granted Daliyah the honor of standing in as “Librarian for the Day.”
As part of her day’s duties, Daliyah sat in on an official executive roundtable meeting. While I can only imagine how awestruck she must have been, she seemed to take it all in stride. According to her mom, “She just kept saying how the Library of Congress is her most favorite, favorite, favorite library in the whole wide world.”
According to the Gainesville Times, Daliyah loves to support her local library, which is how she has been able to read so much in such a short period of time. She told the paper that she checks out books every day and wants “to teach other kids to read at an early age, too.”
Her visit to the Library of Congress has left a lasting impression not just on Daliyah, but on the people she met, as well. Since meeting Daliyah, they have decided to host young book lovers annually, naming a new child “Librarian for the Day” each year. The program will be open to children ages 16 and under. If you or someone you know is interested, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
h/t: Washington Post