cover image Salma the Syrian Chef

Salma the Syrian Chef

Danny Ramadan, illus. by Anna Bron. Annick, $18.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-77321-375-0

Salma and her mother live in an apartment at a Vancouver Welcome Center, a home vastly different from their native Syria, where Salma’s father still resides. When she thinks about him, “Salma’s heart aches like a tiny fire in her chest.” She notices, too, that her mother’s characteristic laughter has disappeared since their move. After some brainstorming, Salma decides to make her mother a favorite Syrian dish. With help from the Welcome Center’s community of refugees (a gay couple from Lebanon, people from Egypt, India, and Somalia), Salma translates a recipe, gathers ingredients, and—through some emotional trial and error—makes her mother a lovingly assembled foul shami that incites “a long, sweet laugh, like the echo of bells.” Bron’s angular illustrations, rendered in warm colors and patterns, depict the inclusive group, while Syrian-Canadian activist Ramadan writes with poetic immediacy about displacement, home, and family. Ages 4–7. [em](Mar.) [/em]