This blog is being moved into

Check it out!

Review from Catholic News Service
Review from CNS, appearing in Catholic Philly, (Philadelphia Archdiocese), The Visitor (St. Cloud, MN), & Catholic Courier (Rochester, NY)

This Summer Explore Nature, Poetry, Saints With New Children’s Books
By Regina Lordan • Catholic News Service • Posted June 5, 2017

“A Muslim Family’s Chair for the Pope: A True Story from Bosnia and Herzegovina” 
by Stefan Salinas. 
Camelopardalis (San Francisco, 2017). 
48 pp., $16.99.
How did a Muslim carpenter from a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina come to make the chair for the papal Mass during Pope Francis’ visit there in 2015? A brave idea, a skilled worker and more than 2,000 hours of hard work led to a collaborative masterpiece. Written from the perspective of Salim Hajderovac, the cheerful and humble carpenter, this book is a wonderful story about interreligious teamwork. Working closely with his good friend the local parish priest, Hajderovac’s brazen idea came to fruition. Within the context of a true story, children will learn a few basic truths about Catholicism and Islam. Ages 6-10.

March 25, 2017 
School Library Journal June 2017 Xpress Reviews
(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

March 2017 Bosnian newspaper. 
Edin, one of the carpenters,  holding a copy of my Muslim-Chair-Pope book, about his family

Upcoming book featured in Klix!
The story of the Bosnian Muslim family which in 2015 made a chair for Pope Francis on the occasion of his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina will become a major part of American children's books. February 7, 2017   by MARIO VRANJEŠ

The story of the Bosnian Muslim family which in 2015 made a chair for Pope Francis on the occasion of his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina will become a major part of American children's books.

In San Francisco, the author Stefan Salinas will publish a book, "A Muslim's Family Chair for the Pope." The story follows Salim and only Hajderovac, father and son from Zavidovići who have made a chair for Pope Francis.

Salinas idea is that the book is primarily for children from Catholic families to form a better understanding of, and learn the importance of getting to know people of different cultures.

"I am sensitive to the various stories of other faiths, cultures and people that they generalize," said Salinas, a Texas-born parishioner in a church community. He therefore decided to find a story in which people of different faiths worked together, and hearing all the buzz about the Hajderovac family, contacted them via Skype.

Salinas thinks the the Pope's chair was "divinely inspired" and notes that the work of the family has been blessed by the leadership of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Vatican.

Upcoming book featured in Catholic San Francisco!

Parishioner-artist publishes book about Muslim carpenters’ gift to Pope Francis
February 7th, 2017
By Christina Gray

A book for children about a pair of Muslim carpenters chosen by the Vatican to make a chair for Pope Francis for his visit to war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina in the summer of 2015 will be released in March by San Francisco author and artist Stefan Salinas.

“A Muslim Family’s Chair for the Pope” is the true story of Salim Hajderovac and Edin Hajderovac, father and son woodworkers known for the religious carvings including crosses they produce from their shop in the town of Zavidovici in central Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Salinas, a convert to Catholicism in 2012, was inspired to write the book, his second, to help readers – children and the adults who may read it to them – appreciate people of other cultures and faiths instead of fear them.

“My ear is a little sensitive to when people talk about other religions, cultures or people with generalizations,” Salinas told Catholic San Francisco. The transplanted Texan, now a parishioner at Most Holy Redeemer Parish, says it’s all too easy to do. “What I’ve heard people say about Texans or Californians is not always true.”

Salinas went online to search for examples of both faiths working together and came upon a story in a Bosnian paper about the Hajderovac family, Muslims who hand-carve devotional objects for both Christians and Muslims. The carpenters were among many who vied for an unpaid opportunity offered by the Vatican to make a chair for Pope Francis’ visit to Sarajevo on June 6, 2015.

Making contact with and communicating with the carpenters about his idea of a book was itself a story of divine providence and cultural goodwill.

Salinas emailed an Islamic community of Bay Area Bosnians in San Jose for help and a woman originally from a neighboring town managed to produce the carpenters’ website and email address.

A Facebook contact led to another neighbor now working as a baker in Los Angeles. He helped coordinate and translate a three-way Skype call between Salinas and the carpenters to discuss the book idea and has continued to act as a bridge between them.

Through that same translator, the carpenters told Catholic San Francisco that their offer to make a chair for the pope received not just a blessing from Muslim leaders but encouragement. Their proposal was then taken to the Vatican where the pope himself “gave us his blessings.”

Upcoming book mentioned in Al Jazeera Balkans!


The chair for the pope from BiH motive for child book in the US
Al Jazeera Balkans   February 7, 2017  by Malden Obrenovic

Children in America will get the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the book about Salim Hajderovac and his family who have made a chair for Pope Francis.
The story of the life and work of the Hajderovacs, carpenters from Zavidovici for a visit by Pope Francis Sarajevo two years ago made the chair on which the head of the Roman Catholic Church rested, became the main motive of the book for American children.
Children's writer Stefan Salinas from San Francisco is soon to publish a book titled: “A Muslim Family's Chair for the Pope” it is in a way, a children from Christian families, a story about the importance of getting to know the other and different cultures, peoples, religions.

"I'm glad it was when the man answered. He found out about us through the story from the media, call us and we started talking. Through Skype we explained how we came up with the idea, as we all do, and what significance this story not only for us but for the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also people of different faiths, "said Edin Hajderovac Al Jazeera.
The idea for a unique venture Edin and his father Salim came suddenly, as soon as they heard the news of Pope Francis coming to Sarajevo, one of the most important and the most popular people of the world in which we live. They wanted to make a ceremonial chair for moments of rest during their stay in the capital city of BiH.  And that they did.
Since then, the last two years, and word spread, even to the west coast of America.
"It's such a beautiful story and I am glad that there are still positive echo although much time has passed since we made the chair. It was not only the honor of the Pope, nor us, but even more than that. We could not imagine such a positive reaction, not only in the media but also person to person. Everything is positive and we have not heard any negative words, "continued Edin.

This book is important in the difficult times that have befallen us all, says Edin Hajderovac

The author himself confesses that he is "sensitive to a variety of stories about other faiths, cultures and people who generalize them," quoted bh. Media, so he decided to find a story in which people of different faiths working together.
"I am pleased that we have someone who has decided to make a children's book was an inspiration, but it is especially important that it be a book for children. The author, father and I agreed that the positive, smarter and better to make a book for children because they will be so close to the reality of the young ones, especially that there are other and different, but that we need to help each other because we are all, in the end, only people " , witness Edin.
The author explained that the book will go into use in the schools where they will be used as a teaching tool in the cases studied religious facilities.

"It's better and more beautiful than to write a whole book, especially in these difficult times passing Muslims not only in America but also elsewhere in the world," says Edin Hajderovac.
Finally, one more beautiful message left in the world from Zavidovici. The work of two masters of the Muslim faith, the son and grandson of Hajj Suleiman Hajderovac, who have done honor to the religious head of Catholics will be something that will be talked about and in many American homes.
Source: Al Jazeera

On display at the San Francisco Public Library - Main Branch
April 1 through May 31, 2016

May 5, 2015

March 2015
New York Review of Books: Independent Press Listing

January 30, 2015
From January 21, 2015:

January 1, 2015

December 19, 2014

November 30, 2014

Sept. 10, 2014
An interview in Catholic All Year:

August 12. 2014
Featured in the recommended reading list on Epiphanies of Beauty...

July 22, 2014
Catholic SF newspaper article featured on California Catholic Daily  

July 7, 2014
A review in Catholic Sense Media. (Now "Epiphanies of Beauty")

July 1, 2014
Interview in Catholic San Francisco, July 4 edition (available digitally today). Click to enlarge.

June 8, 2014
Interview on Mosaic, KPIX Bay Area Channel 5.
Click on picture for video

Correction: There are 78.2 Million Catholics in the U.S.A. (not 78 million in the World!).