Interesting news from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing: they’re starting an imprint that will focus on Muslim characters and stories. Salaam Reads, which will launch in 2017, has a two-fold mission: to offer Muslim children a chance to see themselves in stories and to give all readers, Muslim and non-Muslim, “entertaining and enriching” books.
Salaam (the name is Arabic for “peace”) plans to publish titles for younger children with picture and early chapter books, as well as stories for older MG and YA readers. S&S says they’ll publish at least nine titles a year through Salaam Reads, and four acquisitions have already been announced. From the publisher:
SALAM ALAIKUM is a picture book celebrating peace, community, and love based on the popular song of the same name by global social media sensation and Awakening Worldwide recording artist Harris J.
MUSA, MOISES, MO, AND KEVIN is a picture book introducing four kindergarten best friends who share their favorite family holiday traditions for Eid, Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, and Pi Day, written by H. A. Raz, a pseudonym for husband-and-wife writing team Huda Abdul-Razzak and Azhar Sheraze.
THE GAUNTLET OF BLOOD AND SAND by Karuna Riazi is a middle–grade adventure about twelve-year-old Bangladeshi American Farah Mirza from Queens, New York, and her quest to save her brother from a supernatural board game.
YO SOY MUSLIM is a lyrical picture book in which a parent shares with their child the joy and pride in having a multicultural heritage, written by Mark Gonzales, HBO Def Jam poet and TEDxRamallah speaker.
Here at MUF we’ll be eagerly awaiting Riazi’s MG title. Salaam Reads is one positive way the publishing industry is addressing the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement, and the desire for readers to have more diversity of characters and stories in kidlit. This is something we’ve written about often at MUF, so if you’d like to read more, here you go:
We Need Diverse Books! by Jacqueline Houtman
We (will always and forever) Need Diverse Books by Tricia Springstubb
Every galaxy needs more than three people of color by Greg R. Fishbone