Black excellence

This college student has created a mobile app that provides children with books written by and about people of colour

MOBILE APP: Kaya Thomas

MOBILE APP: Kaya Thomas

MEET COLLEGE student Kaya Thomas, the creator of a mobile app that provides children and young adults with books written by and about people of colour.

Users of Kaya’s app, We Read Too, can browse more than 300 books across various genres written by authors of colour featuring characters of colour.

Within three days of debuting in the iTunes App store in 2014, the app had already received hundreds of downloads.

“The older I got, the more frustrated I became that all the popular books in stores and online focused on white characters,” Kaya told BET.com. “Whenever I tried to find books with characters of color, I would have to look in sub-categories or search longer than I should have had to. I created this app so that books created by and for people of color can be found easily and in one central location.”

Kaya, a current computer science major at Dartmouth College, started programming in November 2013 and was “completely new to app development”

She saved up money from work study and my internship to launch the application and developed the company by herself.

“I used online tutorials to learn general app development and then used those skills to create the features for my app,” she said.

Her long-term goal is that the app will grow “into a mini library app for people of color and maybe even have in-app previews of the books”.

Kaya was featured as one of Glamour’s 2016 College women of the year and in 2015, she met Michelle Obama when she was honored at the “Black Girls Rock” Awards.

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