Okay this is going to be a messy post because it’s like eleven o’clock at night but in case you don’t know Simon & Schuster have announced a new imprint which is solely focused on books that feature Muslim characters and I can’t describe the excitement I’m feeling right now. Simon & Schuster Children’s will launch Salaam Reads in 2017. Executive editor Zareen Jaffery and publisher Justin Chanda will be the driving force behind it.
Extract from Publishers Marketplace (I found out that you need a membership to read the full thing so read the NYT article here)
Jaffery told the NYT she had “long been bothered” by the lack of Muslim characters in children’s literature, a problem that grew more important about three years ago while reading books with her young nieces and nephews. “It was hard not to notice that none of those books really reflected their experience,” she told the paper. Zaffery added in the official announcement: “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,” said Jaffery. “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.”
I’ve been an avid reader since I could ever remember. I’m almost eighteen, and whenever I’m reading books in front of my family, one question always seems to come up.
Have you read any books with Muslims in them?
At first, I was always caught off-guard. I sit and think, and then realised, I could barely name even 3 books. If you asked me to name books with white protagonists, I could go on and on. I’ve always known throughout my childhood that there was always an empty space when it came to finding muslims on the bookshelves. Although, head canons are a gift (rip to that one HP fanfic I found that was an AU with a muslim Hermione) but sometimes it’s hard, having to force yourself into a book when it’s much easier knowing you’re in the book. In novels, especially Young Adult, muslims are barely there. At all. And I know other Muslim readers like me feel the same. So to see a huge company like S&S do this is so great. Thank you so much to Jaffery and Chanda because now I can’t wait until 2016 is over because I need these books now!!