Not everyone has a passion for literature or a knowledge of coding. But, combining those with an interest in representation might result in something spectacular. For example, Dartmouth College student Kaya Thomas created new phone app called We Read Too. She saw a need for readers to find books written by diverse authors about diverse characters. Then, she fulfilled it herself. 

“Young people should be able to see themselves represented in literature, so they know that their stories are important and that there are authors who […] celebrate their background and show the real lives of people like them,” Thomas told The Huffington Post.

“When young people don’t see themselves represented positively in books, TV, movies and other forms of media, that erasure really harms self-image and how you perceive yourself as you grow up,” she added.

Kaya Thomas Filled A Void In The Literature World

Thomas spent most of her life reading about characters that looked nothing like her. Soon, she realized that finding books about diverse characters was harder than it should be. After attending a Black Girls Code hackathon, the rising developer learned how iOS programming works. Next, she took is upon herself to create a database that offered information on 300 diverse titles.

Since 2014, We Read Too has grown to include more than 600 book titles and an audience of more than 15,000 users.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about this is that the app isn’t even available on android devices yet. To expand to new platforms, Thomas launched an Indiegogo campaign. Recently, she surpassed her $10,000 goal to fund the expansion.

“My goal for We Read Too is for it to be the primary directory that contains thousands of works by authors of color of various genres,” Thomas said. “I want to celebrate these authors and for them to always have a place where their work is celebrated and showcased.”

If the campaign gets more support, the app will only be able to expand even more and offer more titles to its audience.