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MAKER Ava DuVernay Tells Variety Why It's Important Girls See Themselves in Books and Movies

Eleven-year-old Marley Dias loves books, but last year, she became frustrated with what she was reading for school.

"I didn't see any black girls in the books we were being assigned," Dias said.

Studies show that fewer than 10 percent of children's books have black protagonists.

So Dias began the ultimate book drive. Using the hashtag #1000blackgirlbooks, Dias began seeking donations for her books about black women and girls. Her movement led to her appearing on "Ellen" and then visiting with MAKER Ava DuVernay on set.

DuVernay said she felt an instant connection with Dias, "I just was fascinated by her and nourished by her."

"She's a dynamic young woman who has a dynamic idea, but a lot of us have dynamic ideas, and we don't follow up dynamically. We don't execute,” DuVernay said.

The MAKER went on to tell Variety how not seeing many brown people in popular films growing up fueled her inspiration and passion to create relatable movies.

"I wanted to make sure all girls see themselves in the film," DuVernay said.

Watch DuVernay’s exclusive MAKERS story in the video player above.

NEXT: Ava DuVernay Shares Her Advice for Women to Break Glass Ceilings: "Focus on Your Work »

Related Stories:
Ava DuVernay's "The 13th" Is First Non-Fiction Film to Open New York Film Festival in More Than 50 Years
Ava DuVernay Is First Black Female Director to Helm a $100 Million Film

Photo Credit: Courtesy of WARWICK SAINT/Variety