Salma the Syrian Chef

English & Arabic

4-8 years

  • Immigration
  • Refugee Stories
  • Community
  • Chosen Family
  • Cooking

Danny Ramadan & Anna Bron


For #TheFictionFeast this month, I wanted to highlight a book that hits a lot of important details that I look for in a story. Main character Salma from Salma the Syrian Chef looks to a mixed refugee community to help her make a special dish for her mother, who is working through complicated feelings about leaving a refugee camp and moving to Vancouver.

Salma and her mother used to live in Syria, and then a refugee camp, and then relocated to Vancouver, but her father is back in Syria still. Salma knows her mom misses Syria, Salma’s father, and the Syrian food. Salma hatches a plan with her friends from the Welcome Center, who are also recent immigrants to Vancouver. The story has a diverse group of characters, a strong sense of community, and is just a really sweet story that focuses on both chosen and biological family.

Since I’ve never made halva before, I found a recipe from this blog. There are lots of recipes that involve a candy thermometer, which I feel completely comfortable using, but I wanted to try one that didn’t involve one in case anyone wanted an easy introduction to making halva!

This book was kindly sent by Annick Press and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to review it. All opinions and decision to review is my own!

Danny Ramadan

Danny Ramadan is a Syrian-Canadian author and LGBTQ-refugees advocate. His debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, won the Independent Publisher Book Award, The Canadian Authors Association’s award, and was shortlisted for a Lambda Award, and longlisted for Canada Reads. The novel is translated to French, German and Hebrew.

His children’s book, Salma the Syrian Chef is nominated to the Forest of Reading’s Blue Spruce award, and named amongst the Best Books of 2020 by Kirkus Reviews and Library School Journal. It won the Middle East Book Award 2020. 

His forthcoming novel, The Foghorn Echoes, to be released by Penguin Canada and Canongate UK in Summer 2022.

Danny graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing and lives in Vancouver with his husband, Matthew Ramadan.

Anna Bron

Anna is freelance illustrator and animation director based out of Vancouver, Canada. Anna dabbles in a lot of different projects; from creating concept art for animation, illustrating for children’s books and magazines, to directing and animating short films and commercials. In my free time she loves to self publish short art books and comics. 

Anna has a BA in traditional animation from Sheridan College. 

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