I've long said I don't like novels in verse, but the last few years have brought two exceptions to that. One received a Newbery Honor this year, and I couldn't be prouder of the author. So in case you haven't read Jasmine Warga's middle grade debut yet, here are four reasons why I love Other Words for Home.
1. The setting
In the book, Jude moves with her mother from Syria to Cincinnati. I loved how Jasmine illustrated the differences between the two and introduced us to Ohio.
2. The themes
Other Words for Home is a book about family and feeling like an outsider and missing home and one's culture. Those are all good current themes, and they're explored on the perfect level for preteens. Jasmine also tackles Islamophobia on an appropriate level.
3. The softness of the protagonist
Jude is just so caring and gentle and lovable. I wanted to give her hundreds of hugs throughout the entire book.
4. Jude's big heart
She is so passionate and cares so much. I don't think the book would have been nearly as vivid and intimate without those qualities.