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Simon & Schuster Creates Muslim-Themed Children’s Book Imprint

Simon & Schuster is launching Salaam Reads, an imprint for Muslim-themed children’s books, the company announced this week.

Zareen Jaffery, an executive editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and a Pakistani-American, will head the imprint, to be dedicated to publishing books that feature Muslim characters and stories. The imprint will release nine or more books a year, ranging from board books and picture books to middle grade and young adult titles. So far, Salaam Reads has acquired four books that will come out in 2017, including Salam Alaikum, a picture book based on a song by the British teen pop singer Harris J.

Jaffery created Salaam Reads with the help of Justin Chanda, the publisher of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, who said the books won’t emphasize theology or Islamic doctrine but will highlight the experience of being Muslim through their characters and plots.

“We have a chance to provide people with a more nuanced and, in my estimation, a more honest portrayal of the lives of everyday Muslims,” Jaffery said.

We Need Diverse Books Opens Internship Grant Applications Process, Expands Partnership with Scholastic Reading Club

Applications for We Need Diverse Books Internship Grants for 2016 are open until May 31. This year, nine $2,500 grants will be available to diverse publishing interns, compared to five grants awarded last year. The program has expanded to include interns at literary agencies as well as partner publishing houses. More information about the grants is available here.

On Monday, February 29, We Need Diverse Books announced that it has expanded its partnership with Scholastic to bring more books by diverse authors and featuring diverse characters into schools nationwide.

Scholastic will release eight new special edition Reading Club fliers prominently featuring diverse books by diverse authors for the 2016-17 school year, which will be distributed in classrooms with students ranging in age from toddler to teen. The collection, featuring award-winning titles, beloved classics, and new releases, will showcase a wide variety of titles representing many types of diversity, including race and ethnicity, religion, LGBTQ, disabled characters, and more.

The original special edition collection, launched in fall 2015, remains available here along with the diverse titles and authors featured in all Scholastic Reading Club fliers.

Ingram Publisher Services Adds Aperture

Ingram Publisher Services Inc. has added photography book publisher Aperture to sales and distribution services list, beginning July 30.

Aperture is a not-for-profit foundation whose publishing arm now has a list of 700 titles, including first books by Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, and Nan Goldin. The company publishes about 30 new books each year, including the works of emerging artists and photography classics.

Aperture has appointed Richard Gregg, formerly director of retail sales operations at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Massachusetts, as its new sales director for books.

SIBA Presents the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Longlist

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) is paying tribute to one of the South’s most beloved writers by renaming the SIBA Book Awards as The Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. SIBA announced the longlist for the 2016 prize on Tuesday, March 1.

“We have long wanted a sexier more marketable name for our book awards, and nothing is sexier than Mr. Conroy!” said SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell. “So, at least for this year, along with other changes, we are delighted to bring this prize and longlist to Southern readers.”

Along with the new name, award categories have been expanded. Each category is named for one of Conroy’s works, or in the case of young people’s literature, a book about him.

This year, more than 140 books were nominated by SIBA bookstores or their customers. To meet the award criteria, books had to be published in 2015 and be Southern in nature or be written by a Southern author. SIBA member booksellers will vote on the longlist during March, and finalists for each category will be announced in April. Winners, to be chosen by a jury of booksellers, will be announced on July 4.

See the full awards longlist here.