Saturday, April 30, 2016

What's So Special about Shakespeare? Best Shakespeare Books for Younger Kids

It’s hard to avoid Shakespeare in this 400th anniversary year of his death, and the UK is celebrating in style with a bevy of kids' books, among many other things, of course!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

New Picture Book: John Lennon's "Imagine" from Amnesty International

A new picture book from Amnesty International pairs John Lennon's "Imagine" lyrics with illustrations from Peace for Paris doodler Jean Jullien. Imagine follows a young pigeon on his quest to bring peace to all birds. The Guardian reports that "[t]he picture book aims to share more information about the work that Amnesty International do around the world." Part of the sales proceeds go directly to the charity.

"Imagine" entered the annals of pop culture back in 1971. Arguably Lennon's most famous song, it envisions a "brotherhood of man" where national, class-based, and religious divisions were nonexistent. Numerous artists — including Madonna, Elton John, and A Perfect Circle — have covered the song in the 45 years since its initial release.

Frances Lincoln Children's Books will publish Amnesty International's Imagine in September 2017.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Simon & Schuster Launches New Imprint for Muslim-Themed Kids' Books

This presidential race season brings talk of radical Muslims and the threat of terrorism.  It  the perfect time for Simon & Schuster to launch a new imprint focusing on feel-good, Muslim-themed children's books.

Simon & Schuster says Salaam Reads will be "the first imprint at a major publisher focused on Muslim characters and stories.

"[It will] 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," will release an annual minimum of nine titles for young readers of all ages — including picture and chapter books, and middle-grade and young adult titles.

"There is an incredible range of cultural and religious traditions among Muslims in the United States and across the globe, illustrating that there is no one way to be Muslim," Simon & Schuster executive editor Zareen Jaffery said.

Jon Anderson, President of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, added: "There are 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, 1.6 billion in the world, and they are an undeserved literary market. Children's books are a fantastic way to get to know our local and global Muslim neighbors."    

Among Salaam's first titles to be published next year are:
  • "Salam Alaikum" — a picture book celebrating peace, community, and love based on the popular song of the same name by global social media sensation and recording artist Harris J.
  • "Musa, Moises, Mo and Kevin" — a picture book introducing four kindergarten best friends who share their holiday traditions for Eid, Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, and Pi Day, written by H.A. Raz.
  • "The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand" — a middle–grade adventure about a 12-year-old Bangladeshi American from New York and her quest to save her brother from a supernatural board game, written by Karuna Riazi.
  • "Yo Soy Muslim" — a lyrical picture book in which a parent shares with their child the joy and pride in having a multicultural heritage, written by Mark Gonzales, an HBO Def Jam poet.