Shaherazad Shelves Publishing, a New York-based publishing house founded by two enterprising Muslim sisters, has made it their mission to revolutionize the literary world. Their goal? To diversify bookshelves worldwide by providing a platform for underrepresented voices. In an industry where traditional publishing can be a daunting journey, particularly for low-income, immigrant, or religious minority authors, Shaherazad Shelves Publishing offers a ray of hope. They actively encourage writers from Global Majority ethnic groups to submit their work directly during their open query periods, bypassing the often discouraging process of literary agents. Here are the top five books from Shaherazad Shelves Publishing that exemplify their commitment to diversity and inclusivity.
1. Yusuf and Yusra’s Happy Dilemma (Holiday Dilemma Series) by A. Dawood, illustrated by Fatimah Farooqi
As Ramadan draws to a close, the Rahim family eagerly anticipates Eid al-Fitr. Siblings Yusuf and Yusra are bubbling with excitement, but when their charitable donation mysteriously disappears. They embark on a mission to unravel the mystery. “Yusuf and Yusra’s Happy Dilemma” by A. Dawood, beautifully illustrated by Fatimah Farooqi. It is a heartwarming tale of faith, friendship, and the joy of celebrating Eid al-Fitr. This book is not only a delightful holiday read but also an opportunity for young Muslim children to learn about the significance of the festival.
2. Home Is a Silhouette by Kataru Yahya
In “Home Is a Silhouette” by Kataru Yahya, we follow the story of Asiya Abdullah, a young woman seemingly blessed with everything she could desire. Yet, an underlying restlessness gnaws at her heart. She yearns for deeper connections with her family and true friends. Therefore, a single mistake thrusts her into a dark and violent world hidden behind the glittering walls of a mansion. Lila, a maid in the same mansion, has given up on escape after five long years of captivity. When their paths collide, their worlds shatter in this gripping multi-POV retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in Ghana. “Home Is a Silhouette” reminds us that not all fairy tales are magical; some can be brutal.
3. A Little Bit of Love by Arva Bhavnagarwala
“A Little Bit of Love” by Arva Bhavnagarwala introduces us to Afrah, a hopeless romantic with dreams of becoming a school teacher and dodging her mother’s matchmaking efforts. Fate takes an unexpected turn when she saves Sadiq, a medical student, during the monsoon floods in Mumbai. Sadiq’s carefully planned life veers off course as he finds himself drawn to Afrah. As they cross paths on Mumbai’s local trains, they navigate family interference, tragedy, and life-changing decisions. Told in a first-person dual POV. This heartwarming story explores the transformative power of love in all its forms.
4. A Country of Beautiful People by Samiha Hoque, Hamda Mahaboob (Illustrator)
In “A Country of Beautiful People” by Samiha Hoque, accompanied by illustrations from Hamda Mahaboob, we meet Aisha and Abdullah, two young siblings sitting at a bus stop with their mother. Their mother seizes this moment to teach them the value of loving and accepting others, as well as themselves. This delightful story promotes ethnic diversity and highlights the importance of inclusion, portraying characters with Down Syndrome, those who are hard of hearing or deaf, and individuals who communicate using sign language. “A Country of Beautiful People” is a celebration of diversity and acceptance.
5. Musafir by Iman Bajwa (Photographer) – Latest Shaherazad Shelves Publishing
Iman Z. Bajwa’s “Musafir” is a visually stunning collection of photography from around the world, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States. Each photograph is accompanied by equally powerful social commentary. It explores the depth of human emotion and reflection. Bajwa’s work transcends borders, cultures, and languages, capturing the essence of humanity in all its diversity. “Musafir” is a testament to the power of art to bridge divides and foster understanding.
In a world where diverse voices are essential for building empathy and breaking down barriers, Shaherazad Shelves Publishing is a beacon of change. Moreover, through these top five books and many more, they are helping to reshape the literary landscape, one story at a time. These books not only entertain but also educate, inspire, and promote a more inclusive world where everyone’s story deserves to be heard. Shaherazad Shelves Publishing is a testament to the transformative power of literature and the enduring impact of dedicated individuals who believe in the power of storytelling.