Cover Reveal: Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

I am honored to reveal the cover for Other Words for Home and share an interview between Aisha Saeed and Jasmine Warga. Thank you, Aisha and Jasmine! 

Aisha Saeed: Books are one of the most powerful ways to grow empathy and help people to understand those who we may never otherwise know. What is your hope for impact this book will have on young readers?

Jasmine Warga: Oh, that’s my favorite thing about novels—they help us to deeply imagine the interior lives of people other than ourselves. That skill is so greatly needed, and one that we can always work on sharpening. I really hope this book in particular helps readers to not immediately think of violence or fear the next time they hear someone speaking Arabic, to reach out to a classmate who may seem different from them, but probably is more alike than they realize, and to be just a little kinder—both to others and to themselves. Kindness is the most powerful force in the universe. 

Illustration Credit: Anoosha Syed 
Hand Lettering Credit: Jenna Stempel-Lobell 

Aisha: This novel is beautifully written in verse. What was the experience like writing in verse as compared to prose? How did you decide?

Jasmine: It’s funny because I’ve always LOVED poetry and actually my first attempts at writing were poems. (Angsty teenage poems, anyone?) But I never thought about writing a novel in verse. Then last fall, I was really struggling to find Jude’s voice and I started hearing these lines that sounded more like verse than prose. I told myself I’d write out a few pages and see how I felt about it, and the verse format ended up feeling really right for Jude’s story. Additionally, Arabic is such an inherently poetic language and I think writing in verse helped me with the mind-block I was having of trying to authentically write from the perspective of someone whose first language is Arabic since my first language is English. 

Aisha: All the characters in OWFH are nuanced and well developed. Aside from Jude, which character was the most complex to write?

Jasmine: Oh, thank you so much! Probably the character who required the most soul-searching and deep-digging on my part was Sarah, Jude’s American cousin, who is half white and half Arab. Sarah feels torn between her two worlds and isn’t quite sure how to reconcile the two. Her struggles are very similar to mine as a middle-schooler. 

Look for Other Words for Home on May 7, 2019. 


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