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Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind her, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her home town 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 U.S. –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.
“Poetic and powerful…There are so many reasons to read this novel. It's a book about kindness, for one; it sings, for another…And that's Jude. I wanted nothing more than to be her friend and listen to whatever she had to say about life. She deserves to shine in the spotlight, and so does Other Words for Home.” (NPR)
“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*)
“From start to finish, Warga's middle-grade debut puts its hands around your heart and holds it…Other Words for Home should find its way into every middle-grade reader’s hands.” (Booklist, *starred review*)
[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*)
“Told in verse and divided into five sections chronicling Jude’s flight from Syria and adjustment to America, this powerful middle grade novel explores the complicated concepts of war and corruption, home, family, belonging, and how, in Jude’s own words, “It is strange to feel lucky/for something that is making my heart feel so sad.” (School Library Journal, *starred review*)
“Other Words For Home is a salve for the world we live in today. It’s a hope-filled story that doesn’t pander, but instead peels back layers of culture and identity, fear and prejudice, exile and belonging, all wrapped around a young Syrian girl—Jude. Chocked with equal parts fear and moxie, Jude is a heart trying to figure out how to beat outside the body. I ached for, but simultaneously, found that though our stories are different, I am her. 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)
“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)
“An emotional, gorgeous book that takes you into the fraught interior life of Jude, a dreamer, actress, daughter and little sister--who is also a Syrian refugee. Told in verse, Jude's story is one that is rarely shared, which makes its relatability that much more powerful. An absolute must-read book.” (Sabaa Tahir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Ember in the Ashes series)
“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)
"Jasmine Warga's exceptional middle grade debut is a moving story about family, belonging, and the difficulty of straddling two cultures. Told in sure, thoughtful verse, Warga skillfully draws parallels between the political and social climates of both Syria and the U.S. through the eyes of an insightful and relatable main character, Jude.” (Sara Grochowski, Children's Specialist, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI)
“Other Words for Home is like a family recipe. At the beginning you know that this is cared for, curated, and passed down. There is an heirloom quality to this story and yet it is fresh and modern. Jude’s immigrant story is rich and light and full of personality. At the end, Jude has developed her own sense of of home; she is at home with herself. This is not just an immigrant story—it’s a LIFE story.” (Amanda Connor, Kids Team Leader, Joseph-Beth Booksellers.)
“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)