Har­per­Collins Children’s Books is delighted to announce the launch of a new imprint, Kumusha Books, cur­ated by pub­lish­er Ken Wilson Max.

Pub­lish­ing estab­lished authors and illus­trat­ors along­side a stead­fast com­mit­ment to seek new voices from dif­fer­ent com­munit­ies, Kumusha Books will be a glob­ally inclus­ive, empathy-led, com­mer­cial list of high-qual­ity books for chil­dren high­light­ing sim­il­ar­it­ies over dif­fer­ences and reflect­ing the rich make-up of cul­tur­ally diverse places. The list will include fic­tion and non-fic­tion, ran­ging from baby to chapter books.

The name Kumusha comes from the Shona lan­guage in Zim­b­ab­we, mean­ing ‘ances­tral home’. It is the concept describ­ing the place you are from or tied to, rather than where you live.

The first two pic­ture books to head­line the list include The Book of People Like Me by Joelle Avelino, a story of belong­ing. It describes a young boy’s exper­i­ence of life as he asks a big ques­tion: ‘is any­one else like me?’. Told in a nat­ur­ally inclus­ive style, it is full of details about today’s world with a dif­fer­ent per­spect­ive that chal­lenges ste­reo­types about place, gender, race, and belong­ing.

From Zim­b­ab­wean poet, children’s author and screen­writer Bless­ing Musari­ri and Brit­ish illus­trat­or Mais­ie Para­dise She­ar­ring comes Two People Can, an access­ible, hope­ful and beau­ti­ful story about Shin­gai and his Mum, who help each oth­er to deal with their loss and look for­ward togeth­er.

Wow! What a Day, Wow! What a Night are a pair of mod­ern concept books to foster dis­cus­sion, play and learn­ing in the very young. The strong child-focused approach of the books is brought to life through gentle humour, repe­ti­tion and play­ful­ness, illus­trated by UK-based Itali­an illus­trat­or, Alberta Torres.

Look Out Hungry Snake and Look Out Hungry Lion are two play­ful and funny hide-and-seek, lift the flap books about the food chain. These debut books by Irish illus­trat­or Paul Delaney are ener­get­ic­ally Illus­trated, offer­ing pre-school chil­dren an oppor­tun­ity to invent with a pur­pose and learn new words.

Pub­lish­er Ken Wilson Max said

“Set­ting up an inclus­ive list for a glob­al pub­lish­ing com­pany comes with an ambi­tion to make pos­it­ive and mean­ing­ful change to how we are all rep­res­en­ted in books for chil­dren. Our approach encour­ages col­lab­or­a­tions between people of dif­fer­ent back­grounds driv­en by shared or com­mon exper­i­ences, from the teams who pro­duce the books to the authors and illus­trat­ors who cre­ate them. It’s a huge and excit­ing chal­lenge to move the idea of diversity pub­lish­ing for­ward so that it can attach itself to the lar­ger con­cepts of equal­ity and belong­ing, the key com­pon­ents of an inclus­ive soci­ety.”

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Mark Mukasa

Mark Mukasa

Mark is a South Lon­don based writer and avid fan of all things hip hop. He’s also an MMA and his­tory enthu­si­ast who tries to keep his love of animé under wraps.

About Mark Mukasa

Mark Mukasa
Mark is a South London based writer and avid fan of all things hip hop. He's also an MMA and history enthusiast who tries to keep his love of anime under wraps.