This morning, Simon & Schuster announced it will start a new imprint: Salaam Reads. It will have focus on stories that have Muslim characters or stories with Muslim cultures.
Some of the first books and authors will be:
“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 Awakening Worldwide recording artist Harris J.
“Musa, Moises, Mo and Kevin,” 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, a middle–grade adventure about 12-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,” 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.
Salaam Reads plans to release its first book in 2017 and at least nine a year.
Of course, there are Muslim-based independent publishers like Happy Books and Kube Publishing, but this is the first major publisher to create such a line.
We’ve written a lot about the lack of diversity in books offered to children before. My hope is that this new imprint allows children who aren’t Muslim to also read about Muslim children, and not just at “World Cultures Day” or around Christmas time, when teachers also throw in Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
After all, isn’t this one way we can bring peace in our time: when kids are exposed to a lot of different people who are different than themselves, but then realize that their stories aren’t really all that different.