Posted in Reviews

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sometimes it feels like when I boarded that plane
to fly to America
I left my heart behind,
beating and lonely on the other side of the ocean.

Recommended: Absolutely
For teachers, for students/kids probably age 10-14ish, for those who need to understand the heart of a refugee, for fans of beautiful novels in verse

Gorgeous cover to match the writing inside ♥

Summary, from Goodreads:
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.

Oh, this is a wonderful book. One thing I kept thinking was “I definitely have to have this in my classroom. Maybe even used as a class read!” That, and that I should recommend it to Clarissa!

A novel in verse is so approachable. You get a little bit of the poetic element in the writing style and format, but still the fairly clear language and imagery. For readers who might struggle a bit, the short lines are a godsend. Yet, you still get SO much out of them, and Other Words for Home is a perfect example of that. The writing is as gorgeous as the cover, but is also hilarious and so descriptive that you’ll actually cringe reading lines like:

Today the air is so soupy
that it feels like I am living inside
someone else’s mouth.

You really get inside Jude’s heart, and the compassion and empathy that can help create is so critical these days. It sort of breaks your heart and puts it back together again. In terms of the plot itself, solidly developed and mingles the darkness and fear with the determination that so many refugees and immigrants feel (I imagine).


Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

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