Mammoth publisher Simon & Schuster just took a step toward more inclusive media with the creation of Salaam Reads, a children’s book imprint that will focus on Muslim stories and protagonists. Per the imprint’s website, it aims to “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.” It is believed to be the first major U.S. imprint of its kind, and it comes at a time when Islamophobia informs everything from immigration to politics.
Salaam Reads—which takes its name from the Arabic word for “peace”—will publish titles for kids of all ages, from picture books to YA stories. Executive editor Zareen Jaffery will run the show, with the goal of releasing nine books each year. The first books will hit shelves in 2017, starting with “Salam Alaikum” by Harris J., “Musa, Moises, Mo and Kevin” by Huda Abdul-Razzak and Azhar Sheraze, “The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand” by Karuna Riazi and “Yo Soy Muslim” by Mark Gonzales. Unlike many major imprints, Jaffery and her team will accept unagented and unsolicited manuscripts.