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With diversity now being one of the key issues in UK publishing, and large organisations looking at BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) representation in their work force and in their authors (and in the characters authors write about in children’s publishing), Simon & Schuster UK has decided to establish Salaam Reads in the UK.

Salaam Reads, the children and YA imprint of Simon & Schuster US established last year, features Muslim characters and stories. They say: “Salaam Reads will introduce readers of all faiths and backgrounds to a wide variety of Muslim children and families.” The imprint will publish up to ten titles a year, ranging from picture and chapter books to middle-grade and YA materials.

Zareen Jaffery, the imprint’s Executive Director, said: “Salaam Read’s mission to publish books with Muslim children and families as the main characters struck a chord in the children’s literature community, and among book lovers worldwide.”

The middle-grade novel Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan is among the launch titles for next month. It follows a Pakistani-American Muslim girl’s struggle to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community. In September comes Salam Alaikum by Harris J., a London-based recording artist who is a “global social media sensation” with 133,000 followers on twitter.

YA debut Saints and Misfits, by S.K. Ali, will be published in October and is described as a “modern-day My So-Called Life starring a Muslim teen” (My So-Called Life was a very popular US teen series in the Nineties). In the same month, picture book Yo Soy Muslim by Mark Gonazes and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini, will be published. The book is about a parent who encourages their child to celebrate their multicultural identity.