What you need to know
- Apple has highlighted the story of Kaya Thomas, the developer behind 'We Read Too' as part of its Black History Month coverage.
Apple has today shared the story of Kaya Thomas, an app developer behind 'We Read Too', as part of its coverage of Black History Month.
Somewhere at the intersection of math and science, and reading and writing, Kaya Thomas discovered a new lane for expressing herself: coding. "Coding is a mesh between the logical and the creative because the act of writing code can also be like writing poetry or something else," Thomas says. "You're also actually building something when you code, so it's a really creative process." Thomas, who is both an iOS developer for the meditation app Calm and an independent app developer in the App Store, launched We Read Too in 2014 to bridge a gap in literature she noticed as a teenager.
Thomas said she became increasingly frustrated by the lack of books with Black characters, or that were written by Black authors. She soon realized that those books did exist, they just weren't on any bestseller lists.
Having discovered coding in College, Thomas launched the We Read Too app on Apple's App Store:
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."
Exploring some of the trends Thomas had seen, she notes how Science Fiction and fantasy books by Black authors "have been booming", noting that how as speculative books often create new worlds and possibilities, "it's essential that these books do not create worlds where Black people no longer exist."
Thomas also told Apple about how literature for young people in the Black community is increasingly more accepting of "the multifaceted nature of being Black and the overarching Black experience", such as "acknowledging mental illness, mental health problems, and the LGBTQIA community."
It comes as part of Apple's multitude of projects to celebrate Black history month across its products and services.
Apple is highlighting the work of Black developers, businesses, and more, and has even released a limited-edition Apple Watch Series 6 Black Unity.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.