Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Other Words for Home

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Other Words For Home (Balzer + Bray, 2019) by Jasmine Warga is a Newbery Honor book and a New York Times bestseller. It’s written in verse and is a story of bravery. I wish everyone could read it to help their understanding of refugees and immigrants.

Jude and her mother have to leave Syria because of the violence and come to America to live with Uncle Mazin in Cincinnati. It’s so hard to leave behind Baba and her older brother. She quickly learns that her English isn’t good as she thought. As her brother told her, she must “be brave.” At first she dreads her ESL class until she learns the others there understand how difficult it is to find the right words. But her cousin doesn’t want to associate with her at school. Finding a few friends helps Jude have the courage to follow her dreams and she tries out for the school play. Will being in the spotlight make her life better or worse? And what about the dangers her brother is in?

Jasmine has written another middle grade novel called The Shape of Thunder and has published three young adult novels. Read more about her here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Home of the Brave


I love it when I read an award winning book and agree that the award was given for a very good reason.

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate is one of those books. She won a 2008 SCBWI Golden Kite for this book published in 2007 with Feiwel and Friends.

Written in verse, this middle grade novel captured me from the first lines as Kek, a refugee from Africa, arrives in a “flying boat” in Minnesota and sees all the white, and wonders where the world has gone. Ms. Applegate really made me see and feel not only how hard it is for Kek to adjust, but makes me see and feel his home in Africa. All I can say is WOW!

Katherine Applegate is also the author of the Animorph books, plus she ghost wrote 17 of the Sweet Valley Twins. Read more about this author of many types of books at her website: