Though Thomas didn’t discover coding until college, it was that moment in high school that drove her to start dreaming up a directory of book titles from authors of color for children and young adults.
“Once I realized that anyone can create an app, it was a huge moment for me to understand that I can build real things that people can use and put it out for them to be able to access,” she says. “Technology can sometimes seem like such a black box, this magical thing. But once the veil was ripped away, I realized I could build something that could potentially solve problems.”
Yet technology alone can’t solve the diversity problem in literature, says Thomas. “What technology can do, and the beauty of it, is provide ease of access and awareness to this issue. Launching We Read Too in the App Store has allowed me to combine my love for reading, coding, and writing into this app to engage with the literature community in an intimate way, and make these stories more accessible to many more young people around the world.”
To celebrate Black History Month, Apple caught up with Thomas to uncover some of the trends in Black literature she’s identified over the last year. In her own words, she describes the significance these authors, titles, and genres have for children and young adult readers in the Black community.