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our story

Founded in 2016, Salaam Reads is an imprint that aims to introduce readers of all faiths and backgrounds to a wide variety of Muslim children and families and offer Muslim kids an opportunity to see themselves reflected positively in published works. The imprint, which takes its name from the Arabic word for “peace,” plans to publish books for young readers of all ages, including picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult.

In addition to publishing works acquired through literary agents, Salaam Reads will also consider for publication unagented and/or unsolicited manuscripts. Submissions can be sent to SalaamReads@SimonandSchuster.com.

meet the team

Deeba Zargarpur,

Deeba Zargarpur enthusiastically joined Simon & Schuster in March 2020. A graduate of Drexel University, Deeba began her editorial career at Disney-Hyperion and Freeform, imprints at Disney Publishing Worldwide, where she worked on both middle grade and young adult titles, including a few New York Times bestsellers. Then, she took a detour into book packaging, where she created and edited a wide range of children's and adult literature. Her aim is to acquire commercial books that empower young people from diverse backgrounds. Deeba is also the founder of Writers of Afghan Heritage, an initiative that advocates, supports and mentors diverse Afghan voices in mainstream publishing, due to launch in May 2020. Follow Deeba on Twitter and Instagram at @deebazargarpur.

Kendra Levin,
Editorial Director

Kendra Levin joined Simon & Schuster in 2019. She began her career at Scholastic, then spent fourteen years at Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, where she edited a wide range of children’s literature including several New York Times bestsellers. Her books have received such awards as the Printz Honor, the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, the Society of Illustrators Gold Medal, and more. Her mission is to edit books that empower young people. Kendra is also a certified life coach and author of the self-help book The Hero Is You.

Justin Chanda,
Vice President & Publisher

Justin Chanda joined the editorial staff at Simon & Schuster in 2005 after an eight-year stint at HarperCollins. A graduate of New York University, Justin was named publisher of the S&S Books for Young Readers imprint in 2007, McElderry Books and Atheneum Books for Young Readers in 2009, and Salaam Reads in 2016. He oversees the publication of 250 titles per year ranging from the youngest picture book to the edgiest YA. He is keenly interested in publishing books that are equal parts commercial and literary, books that make a contribution to the tradition, while truly entertaining kids.

Dainese Santos,
Editorial Assistant

Dainese joined Simon & Schuster in the spring of 2019. As an alumna of NYU’s publishing program and child of immigrants herself, she’s thrilled to be part of the Salaam Reads team and eager to bring more diverse voices to the forefront. She loves talking about her huge immigrant family, but loves hearing about other people’s own families even more. Follow Dainese on Twitter @chanceofdain.

Press Coverage

“Simon & Schuster Launches Imprint for Muslim Children’s Books”

“New Children’s Book Imprint to Feature Muslim Characters”

“Simon & Schuster to Launch Muslim Children’s Book Imprint Called Salaam Reads”

The New York Times
“Simon & Schuster Creates Imprint for Muslim-Themed Children’s Books”

“Why Muslim Kids Need to See Themselves in Books, Too”

Teen Vogue
“Salaam Reads Aims to Publish Muslim YA Stories”

“New Children’s Book Imprint Focuses on Muslim Experiences”

“Salaam Reads to Publish Books Specially for Muslim Children”

New York Post
“Simon & Schuster to Launch Muslim Children’s Book Division”

The Guardian
“Simon & Schuster Launches Imprint for Younger Readers on Muslim Stories”

The Christian Science Monitor
“Can Simon & Schuster’s New Muslim Imprint Ease Publishing’s Diversity Problem?”

Publishers Weekly
“Simon and Schuster Launches Muslim Imprint for Children’s Books”

School Library Journal
“Simon & Schuster’s Muslim Children’s Book Imprint to Launch in 2017”

Shelf Awareness
“Simon & Schuster Creates Muslim Children’s Imprint”

Submission Guidelines

Salaam Reads is actively seeking to publish books that center on Muslim children and families. Submissions can be works of fiction or nonfiction, from picture book (for ages 4+) to young adult (protagonists 18 or under). There are no genre restrictions—historical, contemporary, speculative, memoir, etc., are all welcome, as long as their content is suitable for a young reader.

Please note: we are not looking for books about Islamic theology or history, just books where a Muslim child is the protagonist. The goal is to have more positive and well-rounded portrayals of Muslim kids and families in mainstream children's media.

If you have a project in the works that fits this description, please consider submitting (no literary agent required at the moment). Guidelines are below:

  • In the subject line of your email, please include the title and the format (picture book, middle grade, teen, etc.)
  • In the body of the email, please include:
  • The format (picture book, chapter book, novel), Word count, and one sentence pitch: “I have written an approx. (word count here) word middle grade novel (or picture book, teen novel, etc.) titled, “Title Here.”
  • A short (one paragraph) synopsis with plot and character descriptions. Essentially your book’s sales pitch.
  • A final paragraph that lists any publishing credits, specific to children’s writing preferred. If you have a special degree, or a skill that makes you the perfect author for the subject of your book, include that. If you have a literary agent, please share that information here.
  • Attach your manuscript as a Word document, preferably in 12 point Times New Roman font, double spaced.
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