Book Discovery: Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
" Warga situates her verse novel at a sweet spot for middle-graders…the complications of assessing whether Jude is as lucky as everyone makes her out to be ring poignantly true, and when Jude takes her place on the school stage, Warga’s audience will surely applaud.”
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
This is the story
Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.
At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before.
But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.
This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home and, most importantly, finding yourself.
Reviews and What Readers Say
“Warga’s middle-grade debut puts its hands around your heart and holds it, ever so gently, so that you’re aware of your own fragility and resilience: just as Jude is while her life changes drastically… Other Words for Home should find its way into every middle-grade reader’s hands.”
“ This powerful middle grade novel explores the complicated concepts of war and corruption, home, family, [and] belonging.... Highly recommended for all libraries, this title will easily find a home next to books like Refugee by Alan Gratz and Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai.”
―School Library Journal
“ Other Words for Home is a gorgeously written middle grade novel with words that soar off the page. Told in stunning verse and featuring an effortlessly lovable narrator, this book will be a staple of middle grade shelves for years to come."
―Rachel Strolle, Teen Librarian, Glenside Public Library
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Jasmine Warga is the author of My Heart and Other Black Holes, which has been translated into over twenty languages, and Here We Are Now. Her debut middle grade book is Other Words for Home. She lives and writes in Cincinnati, Ohio.