Other Words for Home

by Jasmine Warga

Hardcover, 2019



Local notes

Fic War



Balzer Bray (2019), 352 pages


Newbery Honor Book! A gorgeously written, hopeful middle grade novel in verse about a young girl who must leave Syria to move to the United States, perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Aisha Saeed. 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. This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home and, most importantly, finding yourself.… (more)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

352 p.; 5.5 inches


0062747800 / 9780062747808



User reviews

LibraryThing member Lindsay_W
Jude and her mother flee war-torn Syria, leaving behind her father and brother, and settle into life in America with her uncle’s family. As Jude adjusts to her new life, she finds many people who welcome her but some who prefer to hold on to misconceptions about Muslim’s, especially those like Jude who wear a hijab.

Author Jasmine Warga does a great job at balancing the innocence of a girl coming of age, while dealing with the realities of both the Syrian conflict and of what it means to be Muslim in America. She gives voice to Syrian refugee children, showing them proudly celebrating their culture while at the same time shedding light on all the hardships they have endured. The book includes links for students to find out more about the Syrian conflict, child refugees, and organizations like the White Helmets who are helping with recovery efforts. Other Words for Home is a great story to build empathy and understanding of newcomers, and hopefully reduce hate and fear.… (more)
LibraryThing member rgruberexcel
RGG: Beautiful, compelling story of a 7th Grade Syrian girl's immigration to the United States. Written in verse. Reading Interest: 10-13.
LibraryThing member rgruberexcel
RGG: Beautiful, compelling story of a 7th Grade Syrian girl's immigration to the United States. Written in verse. Reading Interest: 10-13.
LibraryThing member acargile
A 2020 Lone Star novel, Other Words for Home, a verse novel, demonstrate the struggles people face in other countries and the life one can have in the United States.

Jude enjoys her life in Syria. She has a best friend, her older brother, and loving parents. Polically, life gets more dangerous, and Jude and her pregnant mother would be safer if they moved to the United States to live with Jude's uncle. The novel focuses on American life. At one point, Jude shrugs as a response to an adult, noting this American form of answering a question. So true! Most adults hate it, but I didn't really associate it as "American." This response is definitely not the better side of American life.

Jude adapts to American life. She wonders if her uncle misses Syria. Jude wants to spend time with her cousin, but Sarah is all American and offers little time to Jude. Her uncle's wife strives to make Jude and her mother feel welcome and truly enjoys having them in their home. She has Jude help her find recipes. The American life at school and home differ from Syrian life, so they have to adjust. In addition, Jude and her mother worry about Jude's brother, Issa, who has joined the fighting in Syria. They worry about his safety constantly. Jude's father also stays to take care of their business, so they are without close family, but they do have a good relationship with Jude's uncle. Discrimination presents its ugly head a few times as they are obviously not citizens of the United States. People make assumptions and say what shouldn't be said.

The novel presents a point of view that students--all people--need to see. People are people and unsafe conditions make people seek a safe place. It's a quick read, as it is a verse novel. Enjoy!
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LibraryThing member katelynamy
This is a very touching book that shows the raw feelings of modern immigration. A girl and her mother separate from the rest of her family in Syria, her father and brother, to find new life in America. This book shines light on the things that are often not though about when a child is moved from one place to another. I rate this book 5 stars for the realness, and truth that it can show students.… (more)
LibraryThing member deslivres5
Uplifting middle grade fiction (categorized as YA in my library) about a Syrian refugee experience told through a pre-teen girl's, Jude, voice as she and her mom relocate to Cincinnati to live with her uncle's family, leaving friends and her father and older brother behind.
LibraryThing member Salsabrarian
As violence ratchets up in Syria between rebels and the government, Jude and her mother leave Syria to live with Uncle Mazin and his family in America. It's a classic refugee story, of coping with a strange land and culture and learning a new language but with aspects little seen in the genre: that Jude is Syrian and Muslim. Not only is she learning about a new culture but she faces harrassment and suspicion because of her background and religion.… (more)
LibraryThing member rgruberexcel
RGG: Beautiful, compelling story of a 7th Grade Syrian girl's immigration to the United States. Written in verse. Reading Interest: 10-13.
LibraryThing member DianeVogan
This is an excellent book--so happy it received an award. This story about a young emigrant girl adjusting to life in America shares much about family love, new friends and trying to find a place in her new world of America.
LibraryThing member ewyatt
This is a beautiful book. Jude's comes with her pregnant mom to the United States to stay with family, leaving her dad and brother behind in Syria which is has increasing levels of violence and unrest. Her brother, Issa, is involved in trying to move the country to increased freedoms and rights which puts him in danger.
Jude tries to adjust to a new place, a new language, new culture. It's a struggle. She has an amazing support in her mom who is going through her own journey. She meets friends and tries to carve out her own path, find her voice and place in her new home.
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LibraryThing member bookwyrmm
Beautiful and heart-felt MG novel about a Syrian immigrant.
LibraryThing member electrascaife
A middle grade novel about a young Syrian girl who leaves her home with her mother to stay with her uncle in the States. The story, written in free verse, follows Jude through her struggle to discover who she is and where and how she fits into the world around her, all while adjusting to a new school, a new culture, a new language, and a new home.
Beautifully done. You'll be rooting for Jude from the first page, this is another middle grade book that I'd put on the list of required reading for US kiddos to learn how other lives are lived and how others eyes see and are seen.
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LibraryThing member emwalker97
An amazing children’s book about the hardships and inspiration of a refugee who comes to start a new life in America. It is a great book for students to read to learn about Muslim culture and immigration. I love how the main character looks at America as her new home but still honors her family and old home.
LibraryThing member HeatherLINC
"Other Words For Home" is a sweet verse novel for middle-school readers. The story follows Jude as she leaves Syria with her mother to live with her uncle and his family in the U.S. Through the lens of a child, the reader is given an insight into the life of a refugee trying to find a place to call home and keep her identity.

The only negative was the end. If finished abruptly and left me with questions unanswered. However, overall, "Other Words For Home" was an inspirational read.
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LibraryThing member riofriotex
This 2020 Newbery Honor Book is a novel in verse about a young teenage girl, Jude, and her pregnant mother, who leave Syria when violence escalates, moving in with the mother's brother in Cincinnati. Jude's father and brother (who is active politically) stay behind. Jude has to deal with being a refugee and being Muslim, but she makes friends, and the ending is positive.… (more)
LibraryThing member Sara_Cat
This is an phenomenal book. It is only the 3rd or 4th novel in verse that I have read. And I definitely want to read more like this as well as look out for more written by this author. The way she brings Jude and all the other characters to life is so incredible. Her word choice and line break decisions do so much to create the intended impact upon readers. Just as Jude goes through a range of emotions, so will readers of this book.

Another great thing about it is that it does feel like it is written to be accessible and relatable to so many ages, but in particular teenagers.

Content Warning: racism, mentions of war but no descriptions of physical violence
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LibraryThing member fingerpost
A novel in verse, that very quickly allowed me to forget it was in verse.
Jude grows up in Syria, happy most of the time, loving her family (mother, father, and older brother) and her best friend. But when war in Syria begins to spread to areas near her town, her brother goes towards the war, to fight against oppression, and her father sends Jude and her mother to America to live with her uncle (maternal) and his wife and daughter in Cincinnati, Ohio.
At first, Jude thinks they are visiting. But soon enough, she realizes that they have come to stay, and she needs to try to make a home in the United States. She is an upbeat and friendly girl, but naturally anxious about her new home, and whether she will be accepted. There are ups and downs of course, but in the end, mostly ups.
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(100 ratings; 4.4)
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