Daliyah Marie Arana is a literary force to be reckoned with – and she's only four years old.
The Georgia-based Afro-Latina was identifying words in her older siblings’ books by 18 months. At 2 years and 11 months, she read her first one all by herself.
These days, the part-mexicana, part-African-American little one has more than 1,000 books under her reading belt, including some college-level texts.
“I like to check out books every day,” Daliyah told the Gainesville Times.
Those frequent visits to the library have paid off. The bookworm was recently recognized by her hometown and was even made a “librarian of the day” at her local library in Gainesville.
Her mother, Haleema Arana, hoping to take Daliyah’s new librarian career to the next level, reached out to the Library of Congress. Upon hearing of the avid reader, Carla Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress, and the first woman and African-American to hold the position, was delighted, inviting the girl to shadow her for a day.
Sporting a pink dress, a matching bow and her glasses, the toddler walked through the world's largest library and sat in on executive roundtable meetings — just like any other big-name librarian would.
“She just kept saying how the Library of Congress is her most favorite, favorite, favorite library in the whole wide world,” her mother told the Washington Post.
It was a day to remember and the perfect inspiration for Daliyah, who’s starting school next fall with hopes of helping her teacher show her fellow students how to read.
“I want to teach other kids to read at an early age, too,” Daliyah said.
Before then, she hopes to read at least 500 more books, reaching her goal of 1,500 texts finished before kindergarten.
While Daliyah's parents have never tested her reading level, the child often reads the books assigned to her 10- and 12-year-old siblings. Her favorite writer: Mo Williams — author of the “Pigeon” and “Elephant and Piggie” series.
She hopes to add Spanish-language texts to her repertoire, too.
Although she's not fluent in the language yet, her father, Miguel Arana, speaks to her in Spanish regularly, and she understands.
Next week, Daliyah will recite the “I Have a Dream” speech at an upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration – another honor for the spectacular young Latina.
(h/t Washington Post)