A Georgia girl with a love for books.
Daliyah Marie Arana
Credit: Kate T. Parker

Daliyah Marie Arana is just 8 years old, but she has already read more books than most people do in their lifetimes. The fourth grader has flown through over 4,000 titles to date, including Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. “You have to trust yourself with your choices,” says Daliyah of the most valuable lesson she learned from the former First Lady. 

The Gainesville native started reading independently long before many of her peers, and she collects fun facts like some kids do seashells: “Did you know that Paul Revere made teeth dentures? He actually did for one of his jobs,” she says. When Daliyah read her thousandth book at age 4, her mother reached out to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., earning the prolific reader a special tour with the Librarian of Congress herself.“Dr. Carla [Hayden] was so nice,” says Daliyah. “She showed me the library and her office. There were so many books—about 10 million!” 

As for her own reading list, the young bookworm especially enjoys realistic fiction, citing the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis as being a current favorite. “There’s a lot of things I love about reading,” says Daliyah. “It’s so fun. When you open up a book and go to a page, it pulls you into the story. And once you read something, you want to read more and more. And when it ends, you are just so sad. You want to continue the book when the story’s over. It’s like bittersweet.”