Earlier this year, Simon & Schuster announced Salaam Reads, a new imprint dedicated to publishing books that feature Muslim characters and stories (For more information, read the New York Times coverage). Muslim characters continue to remain scarce in mainstream children’s literature and executive editor Zareen Jaffery, herself a Pakistani-American Muslim woman, seeks to change that and to “provide people with a more nuanced and more honest portrayal of the lives of everyday Muslims.”
Salaam Reads will be publishing books for all ages, from picture books through teen novels. The first Salaam Reads titles will be publishing in early 2017 and we couldn’t be more excited to give you the first sneak peek! The two titles below, Amina’s Voice and The Gauntlet, are both middle-grade titles, ideal for ages 8-12. Though we focus on teen here at Riveted, we do love a good middle-grade read and these both look stellar! Besides, given the events of the week and of the future to come, it seems clear that Salaam Reads and its mission are needed now more than ever!
Take a look at these two fabulous Salaam Reads titles below!
Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
About the Book:
A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.
Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.
Amina’s Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.
Amina’s Voice will be available March 14, 2017.
The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
About the Book:
A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair.
When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand—a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube—they know it’s up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first they have to figure out how.
Under the tutelage of a lizard guide named Henrietta Peel and an aeronaut Vijay, the Farah and her friends battle camel spiders, red scorpions, grease monkeys, and sand cats as they prepare to face off with the maniacal Lord Amari, the man behind the machine. Can they defeat Amari at his own game…or will they, like the children who came before them, become cogs in the machine?