In the midst of a presidential season in which radical Muslims and the threat of terrorism are central issues, Simon & Schuster is launching a new imprint focusing in feel-good, Muslim-themed children's books.
Simon & Schuster
says Salaam Reads will be "the first imprint at a major publisher focused on Muslim characters and stories.
"[It will] introduce readers of all faiths and backgrounds to a wide variety of Muslim children and families, and offer Muslim kids an opportunity to see themselves reflected positively in published works."
The imprint, which takes its name from the Arabic word for "peace," will release an annual minimum of nine titles for young readers of all ages — including picture and chapter books, and middle-grade and young adult titles.
"There is an incredible range of cultural and religious traditions among Muslims in the United States and across the globe, illustrating that there is no one way to be Muslim," Simon & Schuster executive editor Zareen Jaffery said.
"Our aim with the Salaam Reads imprint is in part to provide fun and compelling books for Muslim children, but we also intend for these books to be entertaining and enriching for a larger non-Muslim audience.
Jon Anderson, President of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, added: "There are 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, 1.6 billion in the world, and they are an undeserved literary market. Children's books are a fantastic way to get to know our local and global Muslim neighbors."
Among Salaam's first titles to be published next year are:
- "Salam Alaikum" — a picture book celebrating peace, community, and love based on the popular song of the same name by global social media sensation and recording artist Harris J.
- "Musa, Moises, Mo and Kevin" — a picture book introducing four kindergarten best friends who share their holiday traditions for Eid, Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, and Pi Day, written by H.A. Raz.
- "The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand" — a middle–grade adventure about a 12-year-old Bangladeshi American from New York and her quest to save her brother from a supernatural board game, written by Karuna Riazi.
- "Yo Soy Muslim" — 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, an HBO Def Jam poet.
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