Book of the Week: Other Words for Home

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

What is home?

Is it the place where you are or where you come from?

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Can a strange new country ever feel like a place that you belong? 

Jude is a typical 12-year-old: She loves hanging out with her best friend, begging for chocolate bars at her father’s shop, she loves pop music and movies starring Reese Witherspoon.

Her hometown is a picturesque seaside town full of hotels, tourists and ice cream. 

But then it all starts to change. 

Her gentle older brother starts to argue with their parents about freedom and democracy.

He talks about overthrowing the president, words that can get someone thrown into jail — or worse.

The newspaper starts to talk about a civil war erupting in her country. 

To protect her and her pregnant mother, Jude’s father decides to send them away from Syria to live with her uncle in America.

Indefinitely.

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga is a middle-grade novel in verse about a young refugee’s journey from Syria to America and from childhood to young adulthood. 

In Syria, Jude was at the top of her class — the best at English.

At her new school, she is relegated to a special class for English language learners.

In Syria, she had a warm family and a place where she belonged.

In her new country, when she wears her hijab for the first time, what is supposed to be a special moment is marred by hostile looks and cruel words from strangers. 

Warga tackles the story of refugees, Islamophobia and growing up in a sensitive, thoughtful way.

This book is a must read for Grades 4 and up, and is perfect for fans of Wonder and Jason Reynolds.

Other Words for Home is bound to be a modern classic.

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