(Ok, so the reviewer confused my identity with Salim's... It's all good!)
Nonfiction: The Buzz on Bees, Dipping into Chocolate | June 2017 Xpress Reviews
SALINAS, Stefan. A Muslim Family’s Chair for the Pope: A True Story from Bosnia and Herzegovina. illus. by Stefan Salinas. 50p. Camelopardalis. Jan. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780998608808.
Gr 3-5 –Salinas begins this personal narrative with an introduction to his family of woodworkers, his country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and his Muslim faith. While there are mostly amicable relations between Muslims and Christians in his village, his country overall has a long history of conflict between members of these two groups. This truth underscores the significance of Salinas’s story. When Pope Francis planned a visit to the capital city of Sarajevo in 2015, Salinas’s carpentry workshop was selected to design and craft a beautiful wooden chair to honor him. Although Salinas was initially hesitant to dive right in (“As a Muslim making a chair for the Catholic Pope, am I crazy?”), he recognized that loyalty to his own faith was in no way sacrificed by creating an object of beauty for another set of beliefs (“By making this gift…perhaps I am building a bridge.”). The text does meander a bit before concluding with the pope’s arrival and use of the chair during mass. Salinas’s color pencil, ink, and acrylic illustrations are expressive and communicate much of the text well. VERDICT A heartfelt story that simply conveys the importance of positive interfaith relations. An addition purchase for large collections.–Gloria Koster, West School, New Canaan, CT