Other Words for Home

by Jasmine Warga

With tensions mounting in Syria, Jude and her pregnant mother leave the country to... read more

With tensions mounting in Syria, Jude and her pregnant mother leave the country to stay with her maternal uncle, aunt, and cousin in Cincinnati, Ohio, leaving behind her father, college-age brother, and home. Jude has to adjust to American life, culture, and middle school, not to mention a self-centered cousin who has little initial interest in interacting with her—although they do watch TV together. She remains trusting, which makes it all the more painful when she encounters Islamophophia after she begins wearing hijab and even strangers can see that she’s Muslim. Still, there are many good things happening, from getting to know her uncle and aunt and kids in her ELL class to the pending arrival of a baby sister. Even her cousin slowly becomes a friend. But she’s worried about her father and brother—he’s involved in protests—and best friend back home, and it seems no one at her school really understands or cares about what’s happening in Syria. This verse novel is a quick and easy read in Jude’s open, observant, engaging voice. The story, which begins just prior to the start of the Syrian Civil War, is global in scope, while personal in scale, and quietly triumphant. (Ages 8–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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