ZANIB MIAN is an accomplished children’s author whose books have featured on BBC’s Cbeebies Bedtime Stories and The Guardian for their contribution to diversity in children’s literature. Zanib studied Molecular Cell Biology at University College London and went on to teach Science in secondary schools before she made the decision to give up the career to create change within children’s publishing. She felt that diverse characters from all minorities and backgrounds weren’t being fully represented in books for young children. She launched Sweet Apple Publishers with a clear commitment to publishing inclusive books, many of which she has authored herself. She regularly features in the Bradford Literature Festival, was commissioned to write an opera for The Mahogany Opera Group, and is also on the panel of judges for the prestigious Young Muslim Writers Awards.
Zanib also launched Muslim Children's Books where she publishes Islamic children's books that truly speak to Muslim children of today.
Zanib Mian, who won the Little Rebels Award in 2018 with her book The Muslims, has been signed to the Hachette Children's Group in a three-book world rights deal. The first in the series of books for middle-grade readers based on the original The Muslims text will be called Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet and will publish on the Hodder Children's Books imprint in April 2019, illustrated throughout by Nasaya Mafaridik. The deal was brokered between Kate Agar, Editorial Director of Young and Illustrated Fiction, and Jessica Craig of the Craig Literary agency
Kate Agar, Editorial Director, says 'I'm so grateful that the Little Rebels Award brought Zanib Mian to my attention – she's incredibly talented and fun to work with. Her voice is filled with a warmth and humour that will immediately hook readers into Omar's world. The whole team feels honoured that Zanib chose Hachette Children's Group as her publisher, and excited to develop this series with her. We're delighted to have paired her with debut illustrator, Nasaya Mafaridik, whose creative vision for the package perfectly matches Zanib's own.'
The original text of The Muslims was published on Zanib's own independent press, Sweet Apple Books, in 2017. The story centres on Omar, a nine-year old Muslim in Britain and his experiences at home and school. Insightful and laugh-out-loud funny, the book went on to win the Little Rebels Award and to be longlisted for the UKLA Awards 2019.
Zanib is currently working with HCG to revise and add to the original text and the new book will also be illustrated by brand-new talent Nasaya Mafaridik. The edits will add even more warmth and depth to the story, giving greater insight into Omar's life at home, and his new friendships at school – all with the same authentic humour and lightness of touch.
Zanib says, 'Winning the Little Rebels Award has led to a whirlwind of welcomingly positive events, the best of which have been signing with Jessica, my agent, and this deal with Hachette Children's Group. It's thrilling to see how passionate they are about bringing Omar to the world!
When I fell in love with books as a young child, I could only have dreamt that my own characters and stories, drawn from my own background, would be so appealing to people from all walks of life and go on to be published by a major UK publisher. I'm now thoroughly enjoying working with Kate and the fantastic team at Hachette and eagerly looking forward to the release of the Planet Omar series!'
Agent Jessica Craig, says 'I feel like the luckiest agent to have connected with Zanib Mian, and now for Hachette Children's Group to be bringing her bright, imaginative character Omar to young readers worldwide. These books will help today's children and also their parents, as well as future generations, to feel friendlier towards Muslim classmates and neighbours. Planet Omar will inspire all readers to feel positive and confident about themselves.'
Read in Zanib Mian's own words about what in her childhood inspired her to create the character of Omar.
See the excitement for Zanib Mian's book The Muslims when it was the surprise winner of the Little Rebels Award 2018 – chosen over a shortlist of seven authors including Malala Yousafzai and Gill Lewis! The Bookseller
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