Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing announced the launch of Salaam Reads, the first imprint at a major publisher focused on Muslim characters and stories. The imprint, which takes its name from the Arabic word for “peace,” plans to publish books for readers of all ages, including picture books, as well as middle grade and YA titles.

Salaam Reads will reside within the larger Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers imprint, led by publisher Justin Chanda and executive editor Zareen Jaffery, and aims to publish a minimum of nine titles per year for all ages.

Salaam’s first list will launch in 2017. The initial acquisitions include four debut children’s book authors: recording artist Harris J. (with picture book Salam Alaikum); H.A. Raz (pseudonym for husband-and-wife team Huda Abdul-Razzak and Azhar Sheraze, with their picture book Musa, Moises, Mo, and Kevin); Karuna Riazi (writing a middle grade adventure called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand); and Mark Gonzales (with his picture book Yo Soy Muslim), among others.

With 3.3 million Muslims residing in the U.S., and 1.6 billion in the world, the publisher sees this group as an underserved literary market. Jaffery said in a release, “Our aim with the Salaam Reads imprint is in part to provide fun and compelling books for Muslim children, but we also intend for these books to be entertaining and enriching for a larger non-Muslim audience.”