Monday, June 27, 2016

Salaam Reads

Growing up in Connecticut as a Muslim-American girl, Zareen Jaffery came of age reading books by established kidlit authors like Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. These books fueled her love for reading, but didn't necessarily help her find her "place" in the world. She didn't see herself reflected in those books.

Today, while Muslim characters in children's books are still scarce, they won't be for long if Jaffery, now an Executive Editor at Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, has anything to do about it. This year she became head of their new imprint, Salaam Reads, which features Muslim characters and stories.

Salaam Reads aims to 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,” plans to publish books for young readers of all ages, including picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult.
So far, Salaam Reads has acquired four books that will come out in 2017, including “Salam Alaikum,” a picture book based on a song by the British teen pop singer Harris J. Others planned for release next year are “Musa, Moises, Mo and Kevin,” a picture book about four kindergarten friends who learn about one another’s holiday traditions; “The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand” by Karuna Riazi, about a 12-year-old Bangladeshi-American who sets out to save her brother from a supernatural board game, and “Yo Soy Muslim,” a picture book by the poet Mark Gonzales.
In addition to publishing works acquired through literary agents, Salaam Reads will also consider for publication unagented and/or unsolicited manuscripts. Submissions can be sent to
This post is adapted from an article in The New York Times and from the website I'm Your Neighbor.

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