Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron

Published by Annick Press

Salma the Syrian Chef: Ramadan, Danny, Bron, Anna: 9781773213750 ...

Summary:  Salma and her mother are living in Vancouver’s Welcome Center waiting for Papa to join them from Syria.  When her mother returns from her long days of job hunting and English classes, Salma notices she no longer laughs.  Salma tries making her mom funny pictures and telling jokes, but all she gets is a sad smile, “full of love but empty of joy”.  Finally Salma has an idea–she’ll make foul shami, one of her mother’s favorite Syrian dishes. She gets plenty of help from others living at the Welcome Center, but things don’t turn out the way Salma’s hoping.  There’s no sumac in the spice rack, and she accidentally breaks the bottle of olive oil. But even with its imperfections, the foul shami works its magic, and Mama laughs! Not only that, but Salma’s new friends save the day, and she begins to find beauty and joy in her new home.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  This child’s-eye view of what it’s like to move to a new country acknowledges the difficulties while maintaining hope and optimism.  The colorful illustrations perfectly accentuate the story, bringing the people from so many different places to life.

Cons:  There was no recipe for the foul shami that was so central to the story.

If you would like to order this book from the Odyssey Bookshop, click here.

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