Salma the Syrian Chef Share this with a friend

by Danny Ramadan
illustrated by Anna Bron


Newcomer Salma and friends cook up a heart-warming dish to cheer up Mama.

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 happy to lend a hand—and a sprinkle of sumac.

With creativity, determination, and charm, Salma brings her new friends together to show Mama that even though things aren’t perfect, there is cause for hope and celebration. Syrian culture is beautifully represented through the meal Salma prepares and Anna Bron’s vibrant illustrations, while the diverse cast of characters speaks to the power of cultivating community in challenging circumstances.


“Salma is deeply relatable in her determination, frustration, and sensitivity, especially in moments when things do not go as planned. Bron’s illustration style is realistic but brightly expressive . . . she also employs subtle geometric borders that feel directly inspired by Islamic art, which effectively link Salma’s past and present homes.”
—Quill & Quire, *starred review, 01/20

“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 Social Justice with Children’s Books, 11/25/19

“A strong book about the emotional side of a child immigrant’s experience.”
—The Ladybug Reads, 12/09/19