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Salma the Syrian Chef

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  359 ratings  ·  78 reviews
All Salma wants is to make her mama smile again. Between English classes, job interviews, and missing Papa back in Syria, Mama always seems busy or sad. A homemade Syrian meal might cheer her up, but Salma doesn’t know the recipe, or what to call the vegetables in English, or where to find the right spices! Luckily, the staff and other newcomers at the Welcome Center are h ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Annick Press
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Average rating 4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  359 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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Briar's Reviews
Salma the Syrian Chef is a wonderful picture book that is an absolute delight!

These are the types of books I needed when I was little. Reading the same old picture books over and over got boring, but books like THESE would have had me thrilled and excited. As an adult, I can appreciate them even more. Diversity in children's literature is a must these days! I'm so glad to see a book like this out and about!

Salma lives in Vancouver (Yay! Canada!) but previously lived in Syrian. Her Father will be
La Coccinelle
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, arc, netgalley
Salma the Syrian Chef is a sweet story about the immigrant experience.

Salma and her mother live temporarily in the Welcome Center in Vancouver with a number of other immigrants. Salma is trying to adjust to her new life, but she's aware that her mother is busy and distracted. In fact, it's been a long time since Salma has heard her mother laugh. She thinks that if she can bring a little taste of home to Canada, it might help... so she sets out to make foul shami. Not knowing the language makes i
Alicia Bayer
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is just a beautiful story in every way. The artwork is lovely but the story itself is even more so. A little girl misses her father and her home from her new home in Vancouver with her mother. She misses her mother's smile most of all. She tries to cheer up her mother with a drawing and jokes but nothing works until she decides to cook her mother's favorite Syrian dish.

This could be an easy ending, with the girl magically figuring out how to make it and getting the ingredients and everythi
Storytime With Stephanie
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Think back to when you were a child and you picked up a book and began to read and noticed that the illustrations looked like the place where you lived, or the setting was the same city you live in and you can picture all the places the characters go. There is a special kind of magic that takes hold when a child can see their experience reflected back from the pages of a book.

Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan and Ann Bron is a three course meal of perfection. An incredible mirror book for
Tompkins County Public Library Youth Services
Warm and wonderful and a little sad. There are so many shining examples of human kindness in this book, and the illustrations are amazing! A good book that makes you want to do good things.
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Love this!! (Shout out to welcome centers and libraries... shameless plug).

I read this with a colleague, and we both remarked on the same thing. I do wish there was a recipe for Foul Shami included somewhere in the book, and more Arabic vocabulary was mixed in throughout story (like the Arabic names for the ingredients Salma needed, for example). Overall, a charming book to share with families and school age children.
❂ Ann ❂
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Salma and her mother are Syrian refugees living in an apartment in a Welcome Center located in Vancouver, Canada. The father is expected to arrive but as always, the ETA is unknown. The situation is precarious and her Mama is unhappy so Salma decides to make her Mama's favorite food - foul shami. But the dish requires special spices. North American spice racks aren't filled with the herbs she's used to in Syria. Nothing seems to go her way until she finds the most important and most unexpected i ...more
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Salma lives in Vancouver, Canada with her mom, but her dad is still in Syria. Salma and her mom live in an apartment at the welcome center. Her mom only smiles sad smiles so Salma wants to do something to make her mom really smile. She comes up with the idea of making a traditional Syrian dish for her mom, but it isn't easy. Her new friends help her pull it together. Although the recipe isn't printed in the book, there is a link to the recipe in the back of the book. ...more
Salma wants to see her mom smile again. The people at the Welcome Center help her do this.

A terrific book incorporating innovation, friendship, race, culture, and subtle references to refugees. Beautifully illustrated, colorful, and well written with background images of typical Arabic mosaics.
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron. PICTURE BOOK. Annick Press, 2020. $19. 9781773213750



Salma is discouraged because her mom doesn’t seem as happy as she used to be before they immigrated to America. With the help of her teachers and friends at the language school, Salma painstakingly researches, shops, and prepares a traditional Syrian dish for her mother. The final ingredient is illusive and requires al
Cheriee Weichel
Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It was released March 10, 2020, by Annick Press Ltd.

We first meet Salma staring out her window at the rain as she tries to pronounce ‘Vancouver.’ Her entertaining struggles to get the word correct reflect the authentic challenges faced by new immigrants, refugees, and all of us trying to learn a new language. (You don't want to hear me butcher Korean.)

Salma and her mother live in an apartment in a Welcome Center in Vancouver,
Stacey DeCotis (Reading in the Middle Grades)
Salma wants to make her mama laugh, laugh like she used to back home in Syria, laugh like she used to with her friends at the refugee camps. With the help of many others who are living at the Welcome Center in Vancouver, Salma tries to find the best recipe to make for her mama who has been sad for so long. Her father is back at home, they can't rebuild their house here, Salma has difficulty saying the names of the foods, spices, and vegetables in English but she makes drawings and gets help goin ...more
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There are not many picture books that deal with immigration and integration into a new society. Salma and her mom live in a Welcome Center in Vancouver, but her mom doesn't smile anymore. Salma set out to bring Mama's smile back. She succeeds through language barriers and an accident in the kitchen.

That other residents of the Welcome Center are from all over the world. This book would be an excellent way to open up dialog with younglings about immigrants, refuges, cultures not their own, and, e
Salma just moved to Vancouver, Canada from Syria as a refugee. Despite missing her home and her father back in Syria, Salma and her mom are building a community in their new home. But Salma still sees the sadness in her mother and wants to cheer her up. She decides to enlist the help of her new community and make one of her mother's favorite dishes, but not without a few problems along the way.

This is a beautiful story that shows just how powerful and impactful a welcoming community can be that
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very non-didactic, kid-friendly way of showing the difficulties of being refugees in a strange place. Salma know her mother is sad and misses her father. She can't bring her father to them in Vancouver, but she can cook her mother's favorite dish from home. Missing home, not being able to read or speak the language around you, missing the scents and flavors, yet people around you are helpful, you can draw what you need, where you are may be different but has its own beauties, and other people ...more
Medeia Sharif
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book really pulled at my heart strings. It’s about homesickness, the immigrant experience, making new friends, and the desire to lift someone else's spirits. There’s also food involved. I read this via NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. ...more
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian
This book is a sweet tale of a child wanting to make her mother happy. It's a story of a refugee from Syria, and shows the struggles her family is facing, without being depressing. It highlights the power of community and how connections can help people overcome their struggles ...more
Anna-Marie Mackenzie
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely beautiful book! The story is hopeful and relatable to many. The book is inclusive , featuring characters of many cultures, identities, ages, body types, and so much more. The illustrations are gorgeous. Highly recommended for all ages!
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Salma's mother is sad; she misses Salma's dad, back home in Syria. Salma wants to cheer her mom up, and she decides to prepare some Syrian food for her. It's harder than Salma expects, but, in the end, Salma's mom smiles.

A tale of the difficulties and joys of being in a new land.
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Delightful! I adored this little girl trying to bring back her mother’s smile by cooking a special dish, all the while giving us a sense of how hard it is to make a home in a new country, but how much easier with help from friends along the way.
Blair Smith
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The story and the illustrations are rich with love. Ideal for children to learn compassion, and maybe even develop a passion for cooking too! It is a treasure.
FM Family
This book was a big long, but it was great. I definitely teared up a few times in this story. Honestly there were parts of it that were a bit hokey, like the effort it went through to show ALL the different kinds of people at the Welcome Centre, rather than just focusing on a couple. But its heart is in a great place and the idea of a kid trying to do a small thing to make a parent feel better in the face of life's big things will always tug at my heartstrings. Especially now during COVID where ...more
Warm illustrations complement a welcoming, inviting story. Salma and her mother are refugees from Syria, resettled in Vancouver. Salma looks for a way to cheer up her mother, and settles on making her favorite Syrian dish. Food brings people together in the best way, and Salma moves past every setback in order to bring a smile to her mother’s face.

Delightful in every way.
Jun 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I'm so happy to read a children's book about the immigration experience to Canada. I'm thankful that Salma's story is one that touches on the difficulties of leaving home. I think that a lot of Canadians believe that immigrating to a western country is amazing and don't question or understand the feelings of loss, fear, anxiety, sadness, and many other emotions that immigrants feel before, during and/or after settling in Canada.

I also love the colourful illustrations and diverse characters i
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful book this is. Wonderful illustrations, sympathetic characters, and a thought-provoking premise.

Salma and her mother are refugees who have moved from Syria to Vancouver. The young girl tries everything she can to cheer up her mom, but nothing works. Then she hits on the idea to cook her mom's favorite dish from back home...

I just wish the recipe would have been included in the book! There was a link to download it, but not everyone will see that, unfortunately.
Melissa Mcavoy
Salma and her mother have fled Syria, while her dad remains overseas. In an effort to cheer her mother up Salma wants to make a special Syrian dish. Charming and specific.
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely story of a little girl who wants to do something for her mother, who is finding it hard to smile after leaving her home country.
Megan Sanks
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Super sweet
Avanlea Cary
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-lit
This book was so much fun to read with my three-year-old. Salma is from Syria and she and her mother are missing Salma's father who is still in Syria. Salma notices her mom seems sad about her father not being with them and creates a plan to help cheer up her mom. She decides to cook her a traditional Syrian meal! She has challenges when she tries to make this meal ,but her friends around her help her out. I really enjoyed reading this to my daughter. I wish there would have been more books like ...more
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
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Danny Ramadan (also known as Ahmad Danny Ramadan) is a Syrian-Canadian author, public speaker, storyteller and an LGBTQ-refugee activist. His English debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, continues to receive raving reviews.

The book is positively reviewed by Quill and Quire, Vancouver Sun, Georgia Straight, Globe and Mail among other publications. Released in May 2017, The Clothesline Swing was name

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