In Salma the Syrian Chef, written by Danny Ramadan and illustrated by Anna Bron, we are reminded of common bonds and universal languages that we all share. Languages like laughter, cooking, and beauty. In this book, which will be published in March 2020 by Annick Press (received as an ARC from NetGalley), Salma has just moved with her mother from Syria to a Welcome Center in Vancouver. Her father stayed behind in Syria, but they hope he will be able to come to Vancouver very soon. Salma notices that her mom seems quite sad and wants to do something that will bring joy back to her mother’s face.
Salma recognizes that no matter where the other residents of the Welcome Center have come from, they all miss food from their home countries. She decides to cook foul shami for her mother to bring happy memories of Syria to Canada. She needs help from some of the younger and older residents of the Welcome Center to make this dish and she encounters some challenges along the way.
Ramadan has taken the very complex experience of immigration and the simple, but profound, act of cooking a meal to create a feast of love and hope in this picture book. The bright and expressive illustrations by Bron bring the story to life and will draw in readers of all ages. This is a book to read again and again with children in schools and in homes.
Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards:
Diversity 6: I like being around people who are like me and different from me, and I can be friendly to everyone.
Diversity 8: I want to know about other people and how our lives and experiences are the same and different.
Diversity 10: I find it interesting that groups of people believe different things and live their daily lives in different ways.
RL.1- Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
RL.2- Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
RL.3- Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
RL.7- Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.