Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga is a book that has melted my heart. From the moment I picked up this verse novel, I was engrossed in the story and the courage of the characters.
Jude, the main character, is a young girl from Syria. Her family has been separated by the unrest and violence in her country. To keep Jude and her mother safe, Jude's father has sent them both to live with an uncle in America.
Life in America is challenging and scary. Jude is finding herself continually heeding her brother's words to "be brave." Taking his words to heart, Jude holds her head high as she starts school in America, meets new friends, and tries to find a balance between her life in America and her life in Syria. She even emulates his example and makes the choice to audition for the musical at her new American school.
Other Words for Home is a modern-day story of immigration and bravery. It tells the story of one young girl's desire to start her new life in America while she still honors the family and life she left behind in Syria. It hits on the struggles of fitting in, learning a new language, and the realities of racism and intolerance that happens even here in America.
As I was reading Other Words for Home, I got lost in the poetic words that just flowed from the pages. They were melodic and entrancing. Jasmine Warga has a talent that I would put right up there with other verse novelists, such as K.A. Holt and Kwame Alexander.
The verse novel structure was done with perfection, and it was a beautiful asset to Jude's story.