In a moment when Muslim communities in the US may feel under threat, some are reaching out to help young Muslims imagine a life of normalcy.
Yesterday (Feb. 24) US publishing giant Simon & Schuster announced it will launch Salaam Reads, a children’s book imprint that will show Muslim kids and families in a positive light.
The books will show an “honest portrayal of the lives of everyday Muslims,” Zareen Jaffery, executive editor of the larger Young Readers imprint, told The New York Times.
Jaffrey, who is Muslim and Pakistani-American, said that she rarely recognized herself in the books she read growing up. It wasn’t until recently, while reading to her young nieces and nephews, that she realized children’s books needed more Muslim characters.
The imprint will publish books for all ages, starting with picture books through to young adult titles. Salaam Reads releases its first book in 2017, and aims for at least nine books a year.
It should seem like a given that Muslim children are part of the normal fabric of American society, but in a politically divisive moment, it’s all the more important for children’s books to reinforce their inclusion.