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Local writers, editors start publishing company in St. Cloud all about showcasing diversity

ST. CLOUD — Two St. Cloud professionals are starting a venture intended to amplify stories of diversity for the next generation of readers and writers.

Husband and wife team Abdi Mahad and Hudda Ibrahim are launching independent publishing company Diverse Voices Press, an enterprise focused on helping authors tell stories about diversity. Mahad is the principal founder, and Ibrahim the co-founder.

The pair said they’ve taken notice of a lack of diverse literature across Minnesota and the U.S., and Diverse Voices Press is an intentional step toward seeing more of those stories be told.

Literary pick of the week: ‘What Color is My Hijab?’ launches Diverse Voices publishing company

A new Minnesota publishing company, Diverse Voices Press, will debut this week with launch of co-owner Hudda Ibrahim’s children’s picture book “What Color is My Hijab?” in English and Somali editions. The English version of the book, which features women from all professions wearing colorful Hijabs, came out last year but because of the pandemic was never officially launched.
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St. Cloud couple launch publishing company promoting diverse authors, characters

Fledgling publishers will give voice to authors of color who have struggled to be heard
ST. CLOUD – A few years ago, Hudda Ibrahim’s niece asked her why characters in books don’t look like her.

The question from Fatima spurred an idea for a children’s book featuring Muslim women of all ages and professions wearing different colored hijabs — a teacher in a brown headscarf, a doctor in yellow and an athlete in black.

“I like writing essays and chapter books,” said Ibrahim, a teacher and author of a book detailing how central Minnesota became home to many Somali refugees, including herself. “I never thought I’d go into children’s books.”

But Fatima was right. Children’s books are overwhelmingly written by white authors and much more frequently feature white characters.

Photo by Jenny Berg, Star Tribune