Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga - ADVISABLE

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga 352 pages. Balzer + Bray 2019 $17.00

Language: G; Mature Content: PG (talk of menstruation); Violence: PG.



Jude has lived her whole life in Syria, but as political unrest makes things more dangerous for her family, Jude and her mom - who is expecting - leave Jude's father and brother behind and travel to Cincinnati to stay with Jude's mother's brother and his American wife and daughter.  Jude is excited to be in America - she speaks English (a little) and likes American movies (a lot). Jude makes friends at school, Miles and Layla - and there are some great kids in her ELL class, she even auditions for the school musical, but there's always the underlying issue of the problems she left behind at home in Syria.

I really liked the story - Jude is a great character with a lot going for her - she's resilient, and she has courage.  Her ELL class looks like a great experience - how helpful those classes must be. I liked seeing how Jude responded to the racism she came up against, at school as well as in her community. However, I feel shortchanged when I read a book in free verse. If the author hasn't utilized poetic structure in the writing, it just feels like a quick read - like I'm missing something that more words could have filled in. I would have loved to know more about Jude's life in Syria, her relationship with her father, how her cousin's feelings toward her evolved.  Sigh. All in all, this is a good book, both for building empathy and for seeing yourself in a diverse book. I will certainly recommend this.

Lisa Librarian

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