Summer 2019 Kids Indie Next List
“Other Words for Home is such an important book and should be required reading for every student at a middle-grade reading level. The character of Jude teaches us empathy as we read what it’s like to be a young teenager from Syria trying to fit in in America. She tries to learn the English language while tackling discrimination and classmates unwilling to understand and accept her, including her cousin of the same age. Jasmine Warga has created a story that is both powerful and gentle, big but full of small moments, a happy but sad story that will live in your heart.”
— Marilyn Robbins, BookBar, Denver, CO
Newbery Honor Book!
A gorgeously written, hopeful middle grade novel in verse about a young girl who must leave Syria to move to the United States, perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Aisha Saeed.
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.
About the Author
Jasmine Warga's debut middle grade book, Other Words for Home, is a Newbery Honor Book. She is the author of the novels for teens My Heart and Other Black Holes, which has been translated into over twenty languages, and Here We Are Now. She lives and writes in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can visit Jasmine online at www.jasminewarga.com.
[In] this timely book... rhythmic lines distill Jude’s deepest emotions…. Warga effectively shows, as she writes in an author’s note, that “children who are fleeing from a war zone... want the same things all of us do—love, understanding, safety, a chance at happiness.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Warga portrays with extraordinary talent the transformation of a family’s life before and after the war began in Syria.… Her free-verse narration cuts straight to the bone... [and] confront[s] the difficult realities of being Muslim and Arab in the U.S. Poetic, immersive, hopeful.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“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.”
— ALA Booklist (starred review)
“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 (starred review)
“Convincing and authentic, infused with thoughtfulness, humor, determination, and hope…. A realistic portrait of the strength it takes to move to a new country, as well as of the complicated dynamics between first- and second-generation immigrants.”
— Horn Book (starred review)
“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
“Through Jude’s eyes readers see firsthand what it is to leave behind one’s beloved home and family as many refugees do every single day. Young readers will laugh with Jude, cry with her, and root for her every step of the way. A beautiful, powerful, and necessary book.”
— Aisha Saeed, New York Times bestselling author of Amal Unbound.
“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
“This is a necessary story. We’re lucky to have it in the world.”
— Jason Reynolds, award-winning, bestselling author of Ghost and Long Way Down