Jasmine Warga Wins Newbery Honor
Jasmine Warga, an alum of the Power of the Pen team at Wyoming Middle School, received a 2020 Newbery Honor for her third book, Other Words for Home. A novel in verse, Other Words for Home tells the story of a young girl who must move from her home in Syria to Cincinnati, Ohio.
Jessica P. Wick, who reviewed the book for NPR, highly recommends it as a relatable and vital read for middle grade students: “There are so many reasons to read this novel. It's a book about kindness, for one; it sings, for another, as any good verse novel should . . . It feels true. It feels like middle school and wanting things the way you do in middle school. It feels like being in the middle of so many things and not quite knowing how to navigate that uncertainty.”
Jasmine is also the author of My Heart and Other Black Holes and Here We Are Now. Her fourth book, The Shape of Thunder, is coming out in spring 2021.
Jasmine shares how her experiences on the Power of the Pen team impacted her:
Power of the Pen undoubtedly shaped my life as a writer. To start, it was one of the first experiences in my life where grown-ups actually referred to me as a writer – I'd always thought of myself as a writer, but this kind of adult validation was exhilarating.
But more importantly, Power of the Pen taught me that writing is all about practice. The more hours you put into your craft, the more you will get out of it. It also gave me the opportunity to explore lots of different styles of writing, playing with genre and perspective, and this helped open up my own writing in numerous ways. The trick of writing is simple, but deceptively hard: in order to be a writer, you have to write. It's Power of the Pen that really drilled that lesson into my brain. So, I guess, Power of the Pen first taught me to call myself a writer, and then later, helped me to actually earn that title.
To learn more about Jasmine, follow her on Twitter @jasminewarga or visit her website.