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


 Salma the Syrian Chef – Danny Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron, Annick Press, 9781773213750, 2020

Format: ARC (Hardcover available March 10, 2020)

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Picture book

 What did you like about the book?  Not only was this a sweet story about a young girl trying to make her mother happy, it also shed some light on the struggles refugees face when they arrive in a new country. In this story we meet Salma who has left Syria with her mother. Her father is still in Syria and she and her mother are trying to adjust to their new home. This includes learning English, finding a job, making friends, and adjusting to family separation. Salma has noticed that her mother has become very sad and she wants to do anything to make her happy again. She decides to make a traditional Syrian meal but this proves to be more complicated than she thought. She does not know the English names of the ingredients and she cannot find some of the items she needs. She enlists the help of others at the welcome center and soon Salma has brought a little bit of home to her mother–and many new friends that make them both feel welcome.

The illustrations provided by Anna Bron add emotion and depth to this story. Expressions of sadness, compassion, determination, frustration, and happiness are all seen on the faces of the various characters featured in this story. I think this will help children have a better understanding of the various emotions refugees have while adjusting to a new country.

 Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children between the ages of four and seven. It shows the struggles that refugees face in being in a new country and how this can be really frustrating for a young child. There are many books on the market about immigrants and refugees for children and, if this is an interest to a young child, this book would be appropriate.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, daycare centers, preschools, anyone that works with children between the ages of four and seven. Great addition to elementary school classrooms.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes.

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: January 1, 2020

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