Other Words for Home
by Warga, Jasmine






Sent with her mother to the safety of a relative's home in Cincinnati when her Syrian community is overshadowed by violence, Jude worries for the beloved family members who were left behind and forges a new sense of identity shaped by friends and changing perspectives. 40,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.





*Starred Review* From start to finish, 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 from one day to the next. Growing up in a coastal town in Syria, Jude's days revolve around her family and best friend, watching movies, and going to school. But there's trouble on the horizon, and Jude's brother, Issa, gets involved in the resistance movement. Jude and her mother leave, moving in with Uncle Mazin and his family in Cincinnati. The novel's blank verse form works beautifully to capture Jude's tumultuous emotions as she adjusts to her new life. Friendships, complicated family relationships, Islamophobia, and a new language are just a few of the layers Warga weaves into Jude's consciousness. Jude is keenly aware of who she is-a sister, daughter, cousin, niece, friend-even as she works out the nuances of these roles. Her voice is both wise and naive, her responses credible, and her bravery admirable and accessible. After a few emotional crescendos, the story is resolved with satisfying closure and believable new possibilities. This should find its way into every middle-grade reader's hands. Grades 4-7. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.





A story about war and displacement, resilience and adjustment. Warga portrays with extraordinary talent the transformation of a family's life before and after the war began in Syria. Living in a tourist town on the Syrian coastline, Jude experiences the inequalities in her society firsthand. With the unfolding of the Arab Spring, her older brother, Issa, wants to join protests against the Syrian regime. The parents are in favor of staying out of it, but with news of a new baby and nearby towns turning into battlegrounds, Jude and her mother travel to join her uncle, a medical doctor, and his family in the American Midwest. Her free-verse narration cuts straight to the bone: "Back home, / food was / rice / lamb / fish / hummus / pita bread / olives / feta cheese / za'atar with olive oil. / Here, / that food is / Middle Eastern Food. / Baguettes are French food. / Spaghetti is Italian food. / Pizza is both American and Italian, / depending on which restaurant you go to." Jude, who has always loved American movies, shares her observations—often with humor—as she soaks everything in and learns this new culture. Only when she starts feeling comfortable with having two homes, one in Syria and one in the U.S., does a terrible incident make her confront the difficult realities of being Muslim and Arab in the U.S. Poetic, immersive, hopeful. (Historical verse fiction. 11-adult) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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