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Other Words For Home

I have really gotten into novels in verse lately, for their power in moving the heart through powerful poem like verses, and this book was no different❤️


Genre: Upper MG novel in verse

Ages: 11-15

Available: @crescentmoonbookstore


Screening: (nothing really major) prostitute/witches/magic mention in passing, music/movies listened/watched, a period, mention of kissing on tv, crushes-some interaction, Jude tries out for a musical and sings on stage, a dog licks Jude, stars as sign of good luck.


Jude lives in Latakia, Syria, a vacation destination. Her beautiful home is changed when the Syrian revolution starts, with her brother being among the youth that call for freedom. As the civil war erupts and different groups fight over Syria, Jude and her mother leave Syria to go to America with Jude’s uncle.


Jude’s father and brother are still in Syria, and she worries about them. She struggles to fit in with her cousin and schoolmates, and learn English. After a terrorist attack, she even faces Islamaphobia. When a school musical starts, Jude finds the perfect place to raise her voice and show the world who she really is!


Islam is mentioned a ton in the book! Prayers/athan mentioned, hijab and it being worn when a girl gets her period, the Quran and how there are those who misuse it, ham not eaten by Muslims, mosque being a place of refuge for the mother, Allah is whom they have faith in.


Islamaphobia is also really well explained, both in how harmful it is and how wrong it is. When Jude’s mom is told about her hijab that “you don’t have to wear that here” Joud astutely says we can be happy without looking like what u think looks happy. Hijab is beautifully explained- prob the best book explanation I have seen!❤️


The Syrian conflict is explained well, with three sides mentioned and Jude’s worry for her brother emotionally showing how the war tore families. Bashar Al-Assad and his propoganda is clearly identified as wrong.


The addition of Syrian food/proverbs/Arabic also felt authentic to me as a Syrian.


Jude is a strong character, one determined to speak her truth and raise her voice, and the book ends on a note of hope.


Def a beautiful well written story.


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