Reading & Literacy

Major Publisher Announces Muslim-Focused Children’s Literature Division

By Ross Brenneman — February 25, 2016 1 min read
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A major U.S. book publisher will soon be launching a division devoted to Muslim-themed children’s literature.

Simon & Schuster announced Wednesday the formation of Salaam Reads, an imprint that aims to introduce children of all religious backgrounds to literature showing Muslim life in a positive way.

“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,” said Zareen Jaffery, the executive editor for the company’s Books for Young Readers division, in a press release.

(Reaching that non-Muslim audience might be especially helpful because at this point, among adults, Muslims are, uh ... not always welcome in the United States.)

The first books will be published in 2017, and initial works have already been announced:

  • Salam Alaikum, a picture book based on the popular song of the same name by recording artist Harris J;
  • Musa, Moises, Mo, and Kevin, a picture book introducing four kindergarten best friends who share their favorite family holiday traditions, written by husband-and-wife writing team Huda Abdul-Razzak and Azhar Sheraze;
  • 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; and
  • The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand, a young-adult adventure about a 12-year-old girl from Queens and “her quest to save her brother from a supernatural board game,” by Karuna Riazi

The division, if successful, would be a boon to teachers (and parents) for at least two reasons: First, in providing more curricular materials for teachers who want to explore Islam with their students, and create greater cultural understanding. And second, children’s literature has a well-known dearth of protagonists who are children of color.

More on Islam and K-12 education:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.