monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

May
31

This Town Is Full of Librarians!

It's a big weekend in Montreal -- not only is my sister getting married this afternoon (which means my daughter is in town from New York. YIPPEE!), but there's a CLA (Canadian Library Association

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Guest — Elene M
Hello Miss Polak! Hope you are enjoying your summer so far! I just read your personal essay in the Globe and Mail and I was really... Read More
Friday, 05 June 2009 09:42
Guest — Monique
Hi Elene, Thanks for posting that comment on the blog. Hey, that is amazing news about your mom. I hope your dad will quit smoking... Read More
Friday, 05 June 2009 19:46
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May
28

Exciting Day in London, Ontario!

Hello hello dear blog readers! I'm just back from a whirlwind trip to London, Ontario where I visited two schools: John Dearness Public School and Mountsfield School. In all, I spoke to four groups

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Guest — Angela Van Lanen
Monique! Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to come and visit John Dearness Public School. Your high ener... Read More
Thursday, 28 May 2009 20:47
Guest — Tristan
Hi Monique! I am a student at Mountsfield. I enjoyed your speech a lot! very informative and entertaining. I learned a lot about ... Read More
Friday, 29 May 2009 12:21
Guest — Justin
Hi, Monique. I'm a student from Mountsfield Public School. You are a great public speaker. I thoroughly enjoyed your speech. I lea... Read More
Friday, 29 May 2009 12:26
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May
25

New Look for the Website

Thanks to website designers Vince and Cindy Murphy, moniquepolak.com has a new look. If you've visited my website before, you'll probably have noticed the new book banner on top, and also the handy new link to this blog. So what do you think?

I spent this morning at my school, helping grade placement exams for incoming students, so I'm a little late getting to my computer today

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Guest — Jill Murray
Looks great, Monique!
Monday, 06 July 2009 08:50
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May
22

Visit to a Special School

IMG_1498.jpgI spent today working with students at LaurenHill Academy Junior Campus in Ville St. Laurent. LaurenHill Academy is a special place for me -- my friend Andrew Adams teaches there, it's also where I found the inspiration for my novel 121 Express, and my favourite sweatshirt says LaurenHill
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admin
Thank you very much for coming to our school. I learned so much and you really inspired to write more. I learned so many new thing... Read More
Monday, 25 May 2009 08:30
admin
Hey Elisa! Thanks for that comment. I'm so glad you are feeling inspired!! It was a busy day, but reading what you wrote has given... Read More
Monday, 25 May 2009 08:32
admin
Hello Miss Monique Polak, I am the girl from Lauren Hill that stayed over after the bell and showed you one of my stories. (Par... Read More
Monday, 25 May 2009 08:32
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May
20

Meet Tim Wynne-Jones!

IMG_1497.jpgThat's what I got to do last night! Prize-winning Canadian YA author Tim Wynne-Jones was launching his latest novel, The Uninvited, here in Montreal at Babar Books.

I got to know Tim this winter because we both served on the Arthur Ellis YA Crime Writing jury -- though we never met in

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May
19

I Did It! I Started!

It's just a start, but I did it -- and it feels good. It feels won-der-ful! I've started my new book project. Not notes, not thoughts, but the real thing. I've written part of Chapter One. How exciting! How nerve-wracking! But mostly, how FUN! My story is starting to come to life in my head and now, on the page!

I did my usual getting-started stuff. I went for a run (and got
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May
15

Working on the Floor

When I was in college (I went to Marianopolis, the school I now teach at!), I remember working on an essay -- I was sitting on the carpet in my bedroom, all my notes spread out around me. Occasionally, I still  use that method, especially when I am in the planning stages for a story or a book.

So yesterday, I took out all the notes I've got so far for my new book idea, and I did
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admin
Miss Polak, thanks for everything! Marianopolis was a good college to be at, but u made it wonderful! Thanks for telling me to w... Read More
Monday, 25 May 2009 08:26
admin
Hello dear Breta! You'd better write, that's all I can say. It doesn't have to be a career, but you need to do it, and you're good... Read More
Monday, 25 May 2009 08:28
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May
13

Stop and Smell the Roses!

IMG_1496_2.jpgI thought you'd like this picture -- that's me with Megan, one of my students from last semester. That stop sign was Megan's end-of-term project for my "Stuff of Nonsense" class -- the sign is made of cloth roses. Don't you love it?

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May
12

I Love Lipograms!

You are probably asking yourself, "What is a lipogram, anyway?" A lipogram is a piece of writing, for example a paragraph or a poem, in which one letter cannot be used. Usually, it's the letter "e" since "e" is the most commonly used letter! (Look at all the interesting new things you are learning by reading today's blog entry!)

Anyway, it's a good
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admin
Hi Monique, I was just wondering where I could get your books? (other than the library) ... Read More
Monday, 25 May 2009 08:22
admin
Hi Jayda, Thanks for keeping up with the blog -- and for your comments. Since you live on the West Island, the best place to find ... Read More
Monday, 25 May 2009 08:23
admin
Hi Miss Polak, Just wanted to say that I once read a book called A Void that was written entirely without the letter e! Clearly a ... Read More
Monday, 25 May 2009 08:27
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May
11

My Mind is Writing!

Most of me is busy correcting -- I hope to get all my grading done by the middle of this week... but my mind, well, let's just say it has a MIND of its own! A very cool thing started happening this weekend... and it has to do with my mind. Even though, I won't officially start working on my new book project until all my schoolwork is done, my mind is thinking otherwise.

I keep coming
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May
09

Giving Voice to People Who Don't Have a Voice

Inspired by author/journalist Dave Eggers (he wrote, among other things, the memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), I asked my Journalism students to interview a person who has "no voice" -- meaning someone who is not likely to be asked to tell his or her story. I didn't want my students to interview the kind of people who usually get interviewed: important politicians
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admin
Miss Polak, I am so honored and touched that you mentioned me and my grandparent's story in your blog! I called them up to tell t... Read More
Monday, 25 May 2009 08:20
admin
Wow, Amanda, that message totally made my day!! I think some day, I'm going to have meet your grandparents in person! Have a great... Read More
Monday, 25 May 2009 08:21
admin
Ms. Polak! This little shout out makes me feel really special as well! I agree completely with Amanda, your english class was a ... Read More
Monday, 25 May 2009 08:24
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May
06

Markin' Mama!

I like how that sounds -- Markin' Mama -- though perhaps it is a slightly rude way to describe a woman of my age!! However, Markin' Mama more or less captures what I am up to this week. It's the last week of classes at Marianopolis College, where I teach in Montreal, and all my students are handing in their work. I've already gotten through two sets of assignments and I have two

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May
03

MY Mrs. Browman

This evening I'm thinking about Sharon Browman, who was my fifth grade teacher at Westminster School more than 40 years ago. Tonight, I'm thinking of Mrs. Browman (though we are still in touch, and these days I call her "Sharon") because I am reviewing a book by Ken Robinson called The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. I just finished reading a chapter

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Guest — Edmund Gleason
She let me out of the closet Mrs. Adelman put me in
Friday, 14 October 2011 12:00
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Apr
30

This 'n That

Well... you blog readers have been keeping me busy with your comments. THANKS SO MUCH. There's nothing a writer likes more than knowing she has READERS!!!

As some of you know, I've been busy revising two manuscripts this winter... both are due out in October 2009 with Orca Books Publishers. One's called Junkyard Dog; the other is The Middle of Everywhere. Today, I submitted my

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Recent Comments
Guest — Nikki Randolph
I happened upon What World is Left two days ago at the library and decided to check it out. I finished it not more than 15 minutes... Read More
Thursday, 30 April 2009 20:18
Guest — Monique
Great to get your message, Nikki! Where do you live? So glad that my book affected you. That book means the world to me. You will ... Read More
Thursday, 30 April 2009 21:03
Guest — amber
Hi Monique, its great that you finished your final draft of junkyard dog. Maybe on your free time you should use your extra time t... Read More
Friday, 01 May 2009 15:01
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Apr
28

Spring Fever!!

IMG_1494_2.jpgOnly time for a quick blog entry since I am working away on the final (I think!) edit of The Middle Of Everywhere (due out next fall with Orca Book Publishers). I'm doing what's called "track notes," meaning I'm working directly on the manuscript, and responding to my editor

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Guest — amber
Wow nice garden Monique. The spring flowers are really nice to see its great thats its raining today cause the flowers are gonna... Read More
Tuesday, 28 April 2009 15:02
Guest — Monique
Glad you like my garden, Amber! Like you, rain this time of year pleases me. Our flowers looked even prettier after it rained. I'm... Read More
Tuesday, 28 April 2009 22:04
Guest — Jayda
Hi Monique, me too I'm nuts about spring flowers! Very nice garden by the way. I love the bright colours on the flowers. You shou... Read More
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 18:23
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Apr
27

Tricks for Re-entering the World of Childhood

Ahhh -- that's the sound a writer makes when she gets to spend the afternoon at home WRITING.

This week, I get to concentrate on teaching and writing -- and I get to reflect on Montreal's Blue Metropolis Literary Festival, which ended yesterday. Besides participating, I went to 10 talks and readings, so I have lots to reflect about.

Yesterday, I went to a panel discussion

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Guest — ben
thank u monique for putting us on you website
Monday, 27 April 2009 17:04
Guest — amber
Hi Monique its great that you finished the draft of junkyard dog. My mom asked me to tell you some questions like how do you feel ... Read More
Monday, 27 April 2009 19:39
Monique Polak
Hi Ben, Now I'm curious -- are you one of the students I spoke to last week? If so, what school do you go to? I saw so many studen... Read More
Monday, 27 April 2009 22:10
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Apr
24

Friday at Blue Metropolis

IMG_1489.jpgHello dear blog readers, I'm just home from another busy day at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival here in Montreal! This morning, I did a writing workshop with students from Quebec High School, Vezina School, and Royal West Academy. This afternoon, I spoke to students at the Eleanor London

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Guest — Amber
Hey Monique! im feeling a bit under the weather thats why i did not write to you. Hey i just read your blog its cool that you have... Read More
Friday, 24 April 2009 18:18
Monique Polak
You know, Amber, you would make an excellent assistant-writer... only I have a feeling you're going to be really big writer one da... Read More
Friday, 24 April 2009 18:30
Guest — caelean
hey monique,ive decided to write a book about Dimitri at some point in my life.i want to thank you because if it wasnt for you i n... Read More
Friday, 24 April 2009 18:42
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Apr
23

Launch of "Quebec Roots: The Place Where I Live, 2009"

I'm just home from the launch of Quebec Roots: The Place Where I Live, 2009. The launch took place at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival and it was a super happy event. The book was created by students in 10 schools across the province. The students worked with their teachers and with a team composed of a writer and photographer. You may remember I was one of the writers involved

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Guest — Jessica
Hi Monique Maybe I should write my own books. I just want 2 say thanx 4 telling m that my ideas r great 4 books. ;D Love Jessica ... Read More
Friday, 24 April 2009 09:28
Monique Polak
Wouldn't it be cool, Jessica, if one day I came to hear YOU read from YOUR book? I'd love that!
Sunday, 26 April 2009 10:44
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Apr
22

My Mum and Dad Make a Special Appearance

IMG_1475.jpgHello, hello! I'm just back from the Jewish Public Library where I spoke about my book What World Is Left. And today was special because my mum, on whose life the novel is based, came along to the talk, along with my dad. It was quite a crowd -- there were over 400 students from Montreal area

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Guest — Amber
hmm lets see more mistakes areaschools,Renowned,notepad and i think honoured has no (u) hmm well you look busy always do you ... Read More
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 15:04
Monique Polak
There is no K in renowned. But you got me worried so I had to check! Alas, even you, dear Amber, are not PERFECT!!!! (I was worrie... Read More
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:44
Guest — Jessica
Hi Monique I have more ideas 4 a book. How about u write books that r based on songs. I would surely read those books. ;D LoveJ... Read More
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:56
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Apr
21

Holocaust Memorial Event

IMG_1444.jpgI'm just home from a Holocaust Memorial event at Akiva School here in Montreal. Students in Grades Four, Five, and Six did a moving presentation and I spoke briefly about my latest book, What World Is Left, since it is based on the story of my mum's experience in a Nazi concentration

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Guest — Amber
Hey Monique! Its me again (sorry to bother u if your busy) 2 mistakes again! lol hmmm lets see concentrationcamp and meeet lol. A... Read More
Tuesday, 21 April 2009 15:19
Monique Polak
Well that concentratiion camp was all one word is what seems to happen with my blog program. Two words always get jumbled together... Read More
Tuesday, 21 April 2009 18:39
Monique Polak
I'd better go make supper now and quit writing messages!!! I just want to correct the word "concentration" in my last comment. One... Read More
Tuesday, 21 April 2009 18:49
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Apr
20

New Friends at St. Lawrence Academy Senior Campus

Hello again... you might think I'd be tired after teaching my own class this morning at Marianopolis College and then zipping off to LaSalle to work with Grades Three, Four, Five and Six students at St. Lawrence Academy's Senior Campus -- but instead, I'm ENERGIZED! That seems to be the effect young people have on me.

I met with two large groups of students, so that by the end

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Guest — Amber
oh monique! you always make at least 1 mistake in your text! like endof the day.... Read More
Tuesday, 21 April 2009 03:28
Guest — Amber
Hi Monique lol you like doing laundry? I guess u do get ideas when u wash peoples underwear ;D lol oh well hope you finish that b... Read More
Tuesday, 21 April 2009 03:44
Guest — Monique
Amber, you are one smart cookie! Lucky I have you to check for mistakes! However "endof" isn't really MY fault -- it's something t... Read More
Tuesday, 21 April 2009 06:52
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Apr
17

What's A Writer Doing Hanging Out At the Park?

IMG_1436.jpgToday's pic was taken by yours truly at Stayner Park in Westmount. What, you may ask, was a writer doing hanging out at the park anyhow? Well, I'd just finished meeting those happy-looking kids you see in the pic (plus a lot of others who were busy on the swings or playing basketball at the

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Guest — Amber
lol monique it was grade 4-5 not 3-4 lol u must have been tired to put that ... Read More
Saturday, 18 April 2009 04:15
Monique Polak
I told you writers need EDITORS. Thanks for editing yesterday's blog entry and spotting that mistake. All fixed now thanks to you.... Read More
Saturday, 18 April 2009 08:04
Guest — Amber
hi monique i have a simple question. Do you hire people to edit your work or you do it yourself. From: Amber.... Read More
Sunday, 19 April 2009 21:36
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Apr
16

Holocaust Symposium and a Radio Interview

IMG_1428_2.jpgMy, my, it's turning out to be another interesting day! First thing this morning, I participated in the 16th Annual Vanier College Kleinmann Family Foundation Holocaust Symposium, where I spoke to Marcia Goldberg's "Short Story" class about What World Is Left. Since

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Guest — Dayna
Hi Monique! I just wanted to write to you to say that I loved your talk today. As much as I love photography, I also do a bit of w... Read More
Thursday, 16 April 2009 16:57
Guest — Monique
Thanks for that comment. I was pretty tired when I got home from work just now, but your message gave my spirits a real lift. Keep... Read More
Thursday, 16 April 2009 19:10
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Apr
15

Today's Two Talks at Heritage Regional High School

IMG_1427.jpgI spent part of today at Heritage Regional High School in St. Hubert, working with students in grades eight through eleven. I must say these were, for the most part, really well-behaved young people. Some of the credit must go to English teacher Mary Eva, who organized today's visit, and who

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Guest — Christine
Well, its me again lol. The character in my story named Sultana is a Valkyrie, lol :P and her love named Shadow is a Vampire, ahh,... Read More
Thursday, 16 April 2009 19:19
Guest — Monique
Christine, I think that's a GENIUS idea. If I do it, I'll dedicate it to you! I think I'll begin to ask Holocaust survivors I know... Read More
Thursday, 16 April 2009 19:31
Guest — Christine
If you do write a book about bedtime stories and lullaby's from during the holocaust Can I have one Autographed by you? lol Becau... Read More
Thursday, 16 April 2009 19:39
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Apr
13

All Day In Bed With A Wonderful Book

I've been a little under the weather this weekend... but it hasn't been all bad. Since I'm usually a very busy sort of person, feeling unwell yesterday had a certain upside. I spent the whole day in my nightgown, in bed READING! Actually, it was kind of pleasant.

My neighbour and good friend Joanne lent me her copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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Guest — Rachel
Hi Monique! I had some family time this past weekend over Passover and I thought of you when my uncle told us the following - he h... Read More
Tuesday, 14 April 2009 18:56
Guest — Monique
Goodness, that sounds like a tricky writer, Rachel. Hope you don't give my students any evil ideas -- such as adding more mistakes... Read More
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 18:47
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Apr
09

Thoughts from a Mom

001.jpgI often tell students I meet how I get good story ideas when I'm out for a run. Well, I'm just back from today's run and though I didn't get any story ideas... I was thinking about the connection between being a mom and a writer and a teacher. This may sound weird, but I decided it has something

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Apr
08

Interesting Day!

IMG_1423_2.jpgIMG_1421_2.jpgYou will notice I've got two quite different photos to illustrate today's blog entry. The first pic is of students I met during my return visit to Orchard Elementary in LaSalle.

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Guest — Jill Murray
Thanks so much for having me, Monique. It was fun!
Thursday, 09 April 2009 23:17
Guest — sagimaie
hi im from carlyle and my name is sagimaie do u have a msn :-* :-*
Thursday, 23 April 2009 18:52
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Apr
06

Meeting Young Writers and Readers at Orchard Elementary School

Hello, hello! I'm just back from a very energizing visit to Orchard Elementary School, where I worked with students who are a little younger than the ones I am used to. Before lunch, I met with a group of grades one and two students; after lunch, I worked with students in grades three and four. It was FUN! One thing about younger students is they don't feel the same pressures about writing

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Guest — janessa
hi monique its janessa from orchard elementary i saw the pictures and there nice ;D and heaven leigh saw the pictures to but she s... Read More
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 17:27
Guest — Wendy Corner
Hi Monique, Thanks for touching the lives of the students at Orchard Elementary with humour, grace and life lessons that will res... Read More
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 19:17
Guest — Monique
Thanks for your lovely messages on this blog. Special thanks to Miss Wendy for inviting me to Orchard Elementary. The bonsai plant... Read More
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 21:12
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Apr
01

YA Author Lori Weber Comes to Marianopolis

Yesterday YA author Lori Weber came to talk to my "Writing for Children" class at Marianopolis College. Lori has written five YA books, including Klepto, which we have been discussing in class. Yesterday was an exciting day for us because Lori read from her latest novel If You Live Like Me. In fact, we were present for Lori's debut performance -- since yesterday was the first time Lori read publicly from the novel.

Lori had many important things to tell us about writing and about how she gets her ideas. She told us that many of her characters are inspired by real people. For instance, a social worker who visited Lori's family when she was growing up and who drove a red Corvette, found her way into Klepto.

Lori has an expression to explain how real life incidents and feelings can inspire stories. She calls it, "One True Thing." Lori went on to say how "kernels of true things... something that had a profound effect on you" can inspire creative work.

Lori also spent some time discussing setting, which she describe as "an under-used element of fiction." I thought she gave great advice when she told the class, "Don't describe anything unless it's important."

But I'd say the highlight of Lori's visit was when she read from If You Live Like Me. The story is set in Newfoundland, and Lori read us the opening scene -- in it, the protagonist Cheryl is on the plane from Montreal, just about to land in Newfoundland and not too thrilled about it. I can't wait to read the rest of the book! Lori will be launching it on May 28 at Babar Books in Pointe-Claire and everyone's welcome to join the party.

After class ended, Lori stayed to workshop with individual students. I was working in my own office down the hall, but I had the impression Lori had quite a lot of "customers"!

When Lori was packing up to leave, I asked whether she had time for one more customer -- me!!

I've been struggling with one scene in my manuscript, The Middle of Everywhere, and Lori agreed to take a quick look at it. So there we were, in the hallway at Marianopolis, and guess what? Lori read the three pages I printed up, asked me a few questions about what I was up to in the story, and made a simple suggestion. And that simple suggestion really helped!! So, thanks to Lori for visiting my class, for working with students afterwards and for helping out a fellow writer. As the Beatles wrote, "I get by with a little help from my friends!" 

Check out this pic of Lori with my very dear class! How could students who turn up reliably twice a week at 8:15 in the morning (and generally in good spirits, too) not be very dear?

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Mar
31

Oh Happy Day!

On the weekend, Mike and I went to a terrific gospel concert at the St. James United Church here in Montreal. Amongst the songs the choir sang was "Oh Happy Day!" and I can't seem to get the tune out of my mind.

It's funny how happiness seems to be a state of mind. Ever notice how some people seem grumpy no matter what (they even have grumpy faces)? It's true that sometimes

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Guest — Bev
Hi Monique Great news about What World is Left. And I love your posts about "getting in the mood" to write. Still hoping to take ... Read More
Thursday, 02 April 2009 02:13
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Mar
30

Writing Rituals

Last week, I asked my "Writing for Children" students to tell me about their ideal writing spot and I've just finished reading their wonderful responses. Some like to write in cafes, one likes to write from a spot outside the family kitchen so he can smell the delicious odours of his mum's Asian cooking, and another does his best thinking and writing while he is waiting for the

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admin
hi monique how are you im fine by the way im frome Saint - Lawrence . Thanks for coming!!! Your a big insperation to me... Read More
Monday, 25 May 2009 08:18
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Mar
27

Happy Day at Beaconsfield High School

I spent most of today at Beaconsfield High School, where I visited Melinda Cochrane's Grade Seven classes. Ms. Cochrane's students had all read What World Is Left and they had prepared some really terrific questions for me. Though I have presented the book to older audiences, I don't think I've had such thoughtful questions from any other group. One of my favourite questions

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Guest — Tyler
Heeey MY NAME IS THERE YAYAYAY! sorry i just find it rlly kewl tht my name is there, ON AN ACTUALL WEBSITE, and by the way i reall... Read More
Sunday, 29 March 2009 21:54
Guest — Monique
Hey Tyler! I'm glad you enjoyed my book. Your class had so many great questions for me, including yours! Ask Shanel if she found h... Read More
Monday, 30 March 2009 16:30
Guest — name llol
i just want to say a couple of things one i really loved your book two thank you for the writing tips u gave our class they really... Read More
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 18:32
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Mar
26

Panel on Writing at College Beaubois

Yesterday afternoon, I participated in a panel discussion about writing at College Beaubois in Pierrefonds, Quebec. The panel was organized by College Beaubois English teacher Anthony Lombardi. My fellow panelists were children's writer Jane Barclay, short story author Barry Webster, and film and TV writer Janice Benthin. I must say that in listening to the other writers speak, I think I learned

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Guest — Janice Benthin
I agreed with you, I was amazed at how much our experiences of the writing life were so much alike even though each of us writes c... Read More
Friday, 27 March 2009 07:06
Guest — jessica
hii miss monique polak i loved ur book u read to us in my school saint lawrunce academey sinor campus
Tuesday, 28 April 2009 18:28
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Mar
24

Hello From the Queen of Rewriting

'Tis me, the Queen of Rewriting. Wouldn't you know it -- yesterday, just as I was making the final adjustments on my rewrite of Junkyard Dog (due out next fall with Orca Book Publishers), I got an e-mail from Sarah Harvey (my other editor at Orca) saying that though she likes what I've done with my manuscript The Middle of Everywhere (also due out next fall), she thinks the relationship

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Mar
22

Meet Helaine Becker

I told you I was going to introduce you to another kid lit person -- so today, I'd like you to meet Helaine Becker. Helaine, who lives in Toronto and is the author of some 30 books for children, was visiting Montreal this week and because we've met on-line on a children's writers and illustrators' list-serv, we arranged to meet up. And I must say, we hit it off. In fact, we got

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Mar
20

Meet Lynn Burgess from the Eleanor London Library!

Blog alert: Expect to meet a couple of interesting new book people in my next two blog entries. Here comes the first!

Last night, at the launch of The Heart Specialist, a novel by Montreal author Claire Holden Rothman, I was standing in line behind a woman with whom I ended up chatting. The woman turned out to be Lynn Burgess -- who has spent more than a decade working in children

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Guest — Tamar E.
that's the library I go to! if you are ever speaking there, let me know ... Read More
Friday, 20 March 2009 16:50
Guest — Monique
Hi Tamar, Just to let you know that I will be doing a talk at your library on the afternoon of Friday, April 24. Of course, you mi... Read More
Friday, 20 March 2009 18:48
Guest — Heaven-Leigh
Hello I Just Read What You Wrote On Your BLog Thanks I Lov e Your Name Toooo!!!! :-*
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 16:06
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Mar
18

Catching Up With An Old Friend Who Happens to be a Writer, Too

Last night, an old friend came for dinner. Her name is Leila Basen; she's a screenwriter and we've known each other since our kids were little. Leila has worked on many TV series and she was one of the writers on the hit movie, Bon Cop, Bad Cop. Her latest gig is head writer for the TV series Heartland. If you've never seen it, look for it on CBC on Sunday nights.

I have to admit

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Recent Comments
Guest — Samantha Rudolph
Hi Ms. Polak! I thought I should let you know about my success concerning the new brainstorming technique you had us try out last... Read More
Saturday, 21 March 2009 15:10
Guest — Monique
Hi Samantha, That's super that the technique worked for you! I look forward to hearing what you came up with! Will pass the news ... Read More
Saturday, 21 March 2009 15:53
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Mar
16

New Friends in Cicero, Illinois

Well, today I received a very interesting packet of letters from three students at Unity Junior High School in Cicero, Illinois! There was also a letter from their teacher, Janine Katonah. Ms. Katonah's students have been studying books in Orca's Soundings series, which includes some of my titles. So today, I want to say a very special hello to Ms. Katonah's students Alberto H., Paola

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Mar
12

"Writing is Mostly Solving Problems"

I wish I could take credit for that very wise line, but alas, I'm not the one who came up with it. It's something Montreal author and journalist Joel Yanofsky told my students when he did a talk recently at Marianopolis College. I agreed with Joel at the time, and boy, do I ever agree with him now that I am working on the re-write of Junkyard Dog.

Here's an example. One of Melanie

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Guest — Sarah Mac
Hi Monique! Sounds like you had a great time in Arizona. Although i've been kind of out of touch with the ORca scene lately, I'm r... Read More
Tuesday, 17 March 2009 15:23
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Mar
11

So Much To Tell You...

There's so much to tell, it's hard to know where to begin.

I got my notes on Junkyard Dog -- the second of my two upcoming books with Orca Book Publishers. The editor on this project is Melanie Jeffs. Melanie's notes did something that a wonderful editor's notes can do: she got me excited all over again about my manuscript. Sure, there are plenty of things I need to work on

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Guest — Tamar E.
what magazine will your article be published in and when? cannot wait to read it ... Read More
Thursday, 12 March 2009 00:52
Guest — Monique
It's supposed to be in Maclean's. Will let you know when it runs. xo
Thursday, 12 March 2009 21:26
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Mar
09

Browsing in a Secondhand Bookstore

IMG_1402.jpgAnother Arizona town we visited last week was Prescott. Though we didn't make it to the local library, we did find The Worm, a bookstore that carries both secondhand and new books. Because I had just finished reading The Hunger Games (more on that wonderful book later this week), I was in desperate need of something to read. I don't know about you, but I just can't manage without

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Mar
08

New Friends at the Flagstaff Library

I wrote my last blog entry from the Flagstaff City--Coconino County Public Library in Arizona. At that point, I had just finished using one of the library computers and was heading over to the children's section. To think, I've left you in suspense for five whole days! Well here's what happened next...

I ended up having a lively chat with Gail Reed, the children's librarian

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Guest — Tamar E.
Looks like you had a lot of fun on your trip! Welcome home Unlike Gail, I don't care for sci-fi at all!!! take care ... Read More
Sunday, 08 March 2009 22:27
Monique Polak
Comment: Hi dear Tamar, I'm not into sci-fi either, but I just read this totally amazing book called The Hunger Games by Suzanne ... Read More
Monday, 09 March 2009 17:40
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Mar
03

Howdy from Flagstaff, Arizona

IMG_1306.jpgJust a quick hello in case you are wondering whether we survived our three-day hike in the Grand Canyon. Well we did and it was AMAZING!!! It was a 7 mile hike down to Phantom Ranch at the base of the Canyon, and we did the 10 mile hike back up to the South Rim over two days. When we get home, I will post a picture. I have never seen anything more gorgeous in all my life. And I'm feeling

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Recent Comments
Guest — Sary
I'm glad you enjoyed your time! I'm being lazy as usual and just resting at home.
Tuesday, 03 March 2009 20:12
Guest — Monique
Sometimes being lazy is a good thing! Thanks for checking on me this week! Best from your Miss P
Sunday, 08 March 2009 09:26
Guest — Sophie
Oh my goodness! Congratulations! ;D I was just thinking about what Harold Hoefle said when he gave a reading two weeks ago... O... Read More
Sunday, 08 March 2009 11:57
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Feb
26

Off On a Hiking Trip

March break is coming up at my school. Tomorrow morning, my husband and I are leaving for a hiking trip in the Grand Canyon -- which means I probably won't be blogging for about a week or so.

Usually when we travel I end up writing a travel story about our adventures, but this time, I'm less inclined to work on our trip. I mentioned this to a friend yesterday and she said, "

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Guest — Previous Marianopolite
Hi Ms. Polak! I saw the movie Coraline in theaters the other day and I instantly thought of you because it reminded me very much o... Read More
Friday, 27 February 2009 21:17
Guest — Monique
Hello dear former Marianopolis student, I'll definitely go and see Coraline -- and when I do, I'll blog about it. Thanks for the r... Read More
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 14:37
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Feb
25

A Person Needs to Stretch

In my Monday morning "Writing for Children" class this week, I talked about how writers need to stretch. What I meant was we need to try challenging things when we write. We need to keep writing even when we want to stop. I asked my students, "Doesn't stretching feel good?"

One student, S.S., called out "No!" -- and everyone laughed. So, to prove my point

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Guest — Rachel
I like the new title!! What's the good book that you're reading? I just finished 19 minutes by Jodi Picoult - loved it, reminded m... Read More
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 21:14
Monique Polak
I'm now reading Shadow of Doubt by Norah McClintock. It's a YA mystery -- and one of the characters is a woman teacher. I have ne... Read More
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 21:34
Guest — Sary
Stretching still hurts! But I'm working on it The class was so lazy, they agreed with me, they just wanted to sleep lol but I agr... Read More
Tuesday, 03 March 2009 20:09
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Feb
23

Author and Journalist Joel Yanofsky Spends a Day at My School

Last Thursday, prize-winning author and journalist Joel Yanofsky spent a day at Marianopolis College. In addition to reading from his work, Joel talked about what he does -- and how he does it. I thought I'd devote today's blog entry to telling you a little about what Joel had to say. Joel believes "All writing is creative" whether it is fiction, or non-fiction, or something called

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Feb
20

Teaching and Learning, Learning and Teaching

This week, in addition to working on the rewrite of my Nunavik manuscript, I have been reading my students' picture book texts. As we've discussed in class, there is probably nothing harder to write than the text for a picture book. That's because every word counts. And as I admitted to my students, the assignment I gave them -- to write a picture book text -- is something I have never

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Feb
18

Satisfying Chat With My Editor

So I finally caught up today with my editor Sarah Harvey in Victoria, B.C. I told her exactly what I needed from her -- a nudge in the right direction as I psych myself up for the next revision of my Nunavik manuscript. One of the things I enjoy so much about a talk with a fiction editor is she treats your characters as if they are real people. There's a secondary character in my book named

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1633 Hits
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Feb
17

Beginnings!

Beginnings matter -- but of course, you know that already. Think back to the beginning of a friendship or a romance. Or the beginning of a book! I just started reading Dead Silence, a YA book by Toronto writer Norah McClintock. After I read the first couple of sentences, I turned to my husband and said, "I know I'm going to like this book." He was surprised. "How can

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Feb
16

So Two Sled Dog Teams Meet On a Path...

Sorry if the title of today's blog entry led you to believe I was about to tell you a joke. Nope, I'm about to answer the question to last week's burning question: what do two sled dogs teams do when they meet up somewhere? I needed to know the answer because the issue comes up in the manuscript I'm in the middle of revising -- which happens to be set in Nunavik, Quebec. Last night

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1419 Hits
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Feb
13

Hot Chocolate With a Former Student

In case you are waiting with bated breath for the answer to yesterday's burning question (do dog sled teams get excited when another team of dogs shows up?) you are going to have to wait until next week. Sorry, folks! When I phoned my friend Mark last night in Nunavik, HE WAS OUT WITH HIS SLED DOGS!! We've now agreed to talk later in the weekend -- so look for the answer to that question

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Recent Comments
Guest — Armen
It's very nice that you take the time to meet up with your former students. It's also a plus to know that Vivien, despite being b... Read More
Sunday, 15 February 2009 12:47
Guest — Monique
It's also nice that my current students are reading my blog. So Armen, what do you say, what are the chances you and I are going t... Read More
Sunday, 15 February 2009 17:13
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Feb
12

Researching on a Need-to-Know Basis

I've heard some writers complain that they get so caught up doing research they lose sight of what they were planning to write about! I'm more into researching on a need-to-know basis. For my latest book, What World Is Left, I spent about six months doing research -- interviewing my mum,  on whom the book is based, and researching Theresienstadt, the Nazi concentration camp

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Guest — deniz
"I've heard some writers complain that they get so caught up doing research they lose sight of what they were planning to write ab... Read More
Friday, 13 February 2009 12:09
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Feb
11

Acts of Optimism

I think a lot of people in Montreal were feeling optimistic today. The temperature was hovering around zero -- way warmer than usual for this time of year. My act of optimism was that I hung the sheets out on the clothesline. (You may know that I have an obsession with clotheslines.) Now I wish I'd taken a photo for you -- the sheets billowing in the breeze, a good five feet of snow on the

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1469 Hits
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Feb
10

What's Your Best Time of Day to Write?

Every writer needs to know the answer to this question. Last night, I was working on the re-write of my George River manuscript and I have to admit I was feeling a tad overwhelmed. There's so much to do!

This morning, I got up, wrote my morning pages (three pages every single morning no matter what!), went for a run... and then I came back up here to the computer. And you know what?...

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Recent Comments
Guest — deniz
Hi Monique! I agree, mornings are great - they're not really my best time at all, but if I'm pushing to finish a story, it's excit... Read More
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 07:47
Guest — Monique
Sorry I never got to have you as a student at Marianopolis. I just went to visit thegirdleofmelian at blogspot and it looks like y... Read More
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 13:02
Guest — tamar
You were even more energetic yesterday afternoon after your coffee... poor poor Ms. Frauley.. ... Read More
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 19:56
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Feb
09

The Life of a REwriter!

Since I came home from school today, I've been working on the rewrite of my George River manuscript (that's my YA novel set in Nunavik). I'm working with something called "track changes." That means my editor, Sarah Harvey, has made notes directly onto my computer manuscript and I respond to her notes (also on the computer manuscript). It's kind of like having a conversation

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Feb
05

Today I Bring You Tips From a Children's Books' Editor

Gee, I really had to slow down to get those apostrophes right in the title of today's blog entry! So, today  I'd like to introduce you to Faye Smailes, YA editor at James Lorimer & Co., in Toronto. When I was at the OLA conference, Faye and I arranged to meet up (several of my books including On the Game and Scarred are published by Lorimer). Faye has been working

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Guest — tamar
I like how you now add picture to your blog! It adds an extra oomph. ... Read More
Thursday, 05 February 2009 12:56
Guest — Monique
And thanks for being such a faithful blog reader, Tamar!
Thursday, 05 February 2009 20:36
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Feb
04

Author-Illustrator Genevieve Cote Visits Marianopolis College

So I've got loads to tell you about Genevieve Cote's visit yesterday to Marianopolis College here in Montreal. Genevieve has written and illustrated many picture books. In 2007, she won the Governor General's Prize for her illustrations in The Little Word Catcher.

Genevieve began her talk by telling us that writing the text for a picture book is far more difficult than most people

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2148 Hits
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Feb
03

What is a Videoconference Anyhow?

Yesterday, my photographer friend Monique Dykstra and I did a videoconference. That means we worked with a class on live-video. We were out in Laval; the students were in Franklin Centre, near the American border. This is all part of a great project called Quebec Roots, organized by the Blue Metropolis Literary Foundation. We are helping the students put together a chapter for a book about Quebec

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Feb
02

Meet Rene Schmidt, Another Teacher-Writer

At the Ontario Library Association super-conference last week, I also met Rene Schmidt, the author of Leaving Fletchville (Orca). Rene and I have been in touch because it turns out we met about 40 years ago! There is another coincidence: Rene's grandfather was the minister in a Dutch town close to where my grandparents lived; they were very kind to my family during difficult times

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Guest — dave lee
Rene was a taxicab driver and student at York U. when I met him through living in the same boarding house in Toronto. He would, o... Read More
Thursday, 03 September 2009 22:40
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Jan
30

Visit to the Ontario Library Association

Hi there! I'm writing to you from the lobby of my hotel in Toronto. I'm just back from my little talk at the Ontario Library Association. I was one of 20 children's authors invited to speak about our work. I talked about my latest book What World Is Left -- and I have to admit I got a little choked up telling the story behind the story, how the book is based on my mum's

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Recent Comments
Guest — Armen
I wholeheartedly agree with Raquel Rivera's statement. If you are truly interested in the subject , you convey that same passion t... Read More
Sunday, 01 February 2009 16:00
Monique Polak
I get so excited when I see that one of my students (especially one who is new this term) has posted a comment on my blog. Glad to... Read More
Sunday, 01 February 2009 16:29
Guest — Michelle Dabora
I just read What World Is Left and I thought it was a great story to tell. I'm glad you got your mother to tell her holocaust stor... Read More
Sunday, 01 February 2009 17:17
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Jan
28

You're Never Too Old to Enjoy Children's Books

If you don't believe me, ask the students in my "Writing for Children" class. They are aged 16 to 19, and this morning, I got them to sit on the floor in front of me while I read them two picture books. And you know what? I could tell they had a good time! Maybe even a great time!!

I "read" them A. Guillope's Loup Noir. I put the word "read" in quotation

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Guest — Michelle Dabora
I really enjoyed the Loup Noir story you "read" us in class...I can't wait to show it to my sister when Sophie is done with it. It... Read More
Sunday, 01 February 2009 17:20
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Jan
27

Reading Chain

IMG_1272.jpgSo I'm just back from a press conference to promote a Montreal literacy organization called "J'Apprends Avec Mon Enfant." Today, JAME began a new initiative to promote literacy -- 60 children's books are being "sent out" into the community and the goal is for the books to be read to as many kids as possible. I'm one of the "passeurs de livres,"

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Guest — Mali
I liked the quote from Marie-Louise Gay that "through books [teenagers] learn that they are not alone." I completely agree with th... Read More
Tuesday, 27 January 2009 22:02
Monique Polak
Another one of my new students writes a comment on the blog! A very good start to this busy day! Mali, I feel the same way -- the... Read More
Wednesday, 28 January 2009 05:43
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Jan
26

"Whoopy once/ whoopy twice/ whoopy chicken soup/ with rice" or The Benefits of Reading Out Loud

The lines "Whoopy once/ whoopy twice/ whoopy chicken soup/ with rice" come from Maurice Sendak's delightful picture book "Chicken Soup With Rice." Perfect reading for a chilly day in Montreal (last I heard it was minus 21 without the windchill), which is why I read the book to my "Writing for Children" class this morning.

...which gave me the idea to dedicate

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Guest — Sascha
A story told out loud to a child or even to a group of teenagers, if told well, is even better than reading the story by yourself ... Read More
Tuesday, 27 January 2009 18:42
Monique Polak
First comment from one of my new students this term! Way to go, Sascha! Glad you liked the story. Wait till you see what I have fo... Read More
Tuesday, 27 January 2009 19:05
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Jan
21

I Have a Code

No, not a secret code. "A bad code." At least, that's how I say it. What I mean is, I have a sore throat and a sniffle. And my nose is red from blowing it so much. You know... a "code."

Anyway because I've been busy busy with school stuff, I must admit I haven't done much in the way of writing today. But I'm going to try to do a little work now before I

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1627 Hits
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Jan
20

This Line Will Make You Swoon

So my head is still full of Judy Blundell's wonderful book, What I Saw and How I Lied. I thought that for today's blog entry, I'd copy out one of my favourite lines from the book (believe me, there were lots to choose from). This one describes the feelings Evie Spooner (the story's 15-year-old protagonist) experiences when the boy (if you can call him a boy, he's 23 years old

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Jan
19

Oh What a Delicious Book

Some books are DELICIOUS. That's how I felt reading Judy Blundell's YA novel What I Saw and How I Lied. Lucky me -- I get to review this book, which won the 2008 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. This is the first novel Judy Blundell has written under her own name. She has written many many books under the pen name Jude Watson. What I Saw and How I Lied is

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1517 Hits
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Jan
17

Here's the Link to the Article About Ouje-Bougoumou

It's on page three of today's Gazette, but for those of you who are out of town, here's the link: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Minus+school/1188315/story.html

If you've got the paper copy, check out Monique Dykstra's photo of Joseph Dixon and the Malamute pup that turned up outside his house on Wednesday in minus 50 degree weather (with the wind chill). I talked to Joseph

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Guest — G
Are you able to repost the article about Ouje? I tried following the link, but it did not work for me. Thanks!
Tuesday, 05 January 2016 17:14
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Jan
15

Visit to Ouje-Bougoumou

NEF0016copy.jpgSo the Moniques are home, back from a fun and interesting trip to Ouje-Bougoumou! It was a bit of a whirlwind, considering we went there and back in about 36 hours  (we flew there on a 16-seater beachcraft), but we managed to get everything done. We worked with Kyla Nadeau's Grade Six students at Waapihtiiwewan School. Kyla, thanks for doing such a great job of getting things organized

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Recent Comments
Guest — Tamar
Great pic, Miss P.!
Sunday, 18 January 2009 13:03
Guest — Morgan Spence
hey moniqe it was so great to see you and meet you im not sure if you remember me but im the girl who didnt like writing so much ... Read More
Tuesday, 28 July 2009 02:41
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Jan
12

Checking In Between Trips

Hello, hello! I'm just back from visiting my husband's family on Long Island, New York, and tomorrow I head out again -- this time to Ouje-Bougoumou in northern Quebec. I'm getting pretty excited about the upcoming adventure. I'm going there with my friend photographer Monique Dykstra (just call us "the two Moniques"!!) and we'll be working with students as part of the
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Guest — Sophie B.X.
Congrads on getting the cover of the Marianopolis magazine =)
Tuesday, 13 January 2009 13:38
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Jan
07

Moving Backwards to Go Forwards

I think I used a similar title for a blog entry a few months ago -- must be because I'm at the same stage in the writing process. I'm working on the very first draft of a manuscript called Junkyard Dog (it's about guard dogs) and I'm about to start writing the final chapter. Only before I can go ahead and try to bring the whole story to a conclusion, I feel like I have to go back

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1466 Hits
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Jan
05

Hippity Hoppity Happy New Year!

I know it's silly, but I just wanted to say so! It's Monday and my daughter, who was here for the weekend, has left to go back to New York. I'm finding comfort in the world of words. Have been working since noon on a very short book review, and soon, I want to get back to my manuscript. After taking a few days off, it feels like I need to get reacquainted with the project. Give it a sniff
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1430 Hits
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Dec
29

Quiet Writing Day

It's already 10 to 2 in the afternoon and I've been writing since I came home from my run this morning. I had a book review to write for The Gazette -- about a book that I found super interesting, Andrew Steinmetz's Eva's Three Penny Opera. I related a lot to the book because it is based on the story of the author's great aunt's life -- and she lived during World War
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1860 Hits
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Dec
24

Fold Your Pants!

Hello, hello... shifting gears today... have decided to take a little break from fiction and am working on a profile of children's book author Frieda Wishinsky. I'm writing it for the CANSCAIP newsletter, which goes out to Canadian children's writers and people interested in the business. Anyway, I've got pages of notes from when I interviewed Frieda in Toronto in November and now
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Recent Comments
Guest — tamar
Happy holidays, Miss P! and happy and healthy oh and safe new year! xo
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 13:45
Guest — Sophie
HAppy holidays! ;D
Sunday, 28 December 2008 10:38
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Dec
22

500 Words a Day

That's the daily quota I've set for myself. And this week I have what every writer craves most -- TIME!! When I looked at my agenda this morning, I had the delightful feeling that comes when I see BLANK BOXES. No plans!! And then, I sat down to work on Junkyard Dog -- my latest manuscript for Orca -- and when I checked my word count a little later, guess what?! I'd already written 500

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1462 Hits
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Dec
18

New Friends at The Study

Hello hello... I'm just back from a lively session with grades five, six, seven and eight students at The Study, a private girls' school in Montreal. I don't think I've ever had so many questions after one of my talks. Way to go, girls! Only problem is there wasn't time to answer all the questions, so I'm hoping students will send questions to the blog (use the comment section

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Guest — Sophie B. X.
I have been trying to keep a dream diary lately, but there simply doesn't seem to be enough time to write my dreams down before I ... Read More
Thursday, 18 December 2008 13:18
Guest — Taylor Geyer
Ms.Polak, I would like to thank you for taking the time to visit my school. I found your discussion very helpful and interesting. ... Read More
Tuesday, 23 December 2008 15:39
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Dec
17

What Do Three Children's Writers Talk About Over Dinner?

I bet you think the answer to that question is writing and books. And usually, when I get together with my friends Jane Barclay and Lori Weber, we do discuss writing and books. But to be honest, this week, we mostly discussed our kids. It's been a while since the three of us got together and so we had quite a lot of catching up to do. We also drank a bottle of red wine -- so maybe that explains

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Recent Comments
Guest — Sophie B. X.
The wine certainly let some ideas fly. =) I remember a mildly intoxicated scene from a Tamora Pierce book about a "spy" working. S... Read More
Thursday, 18 December 2008 09:55
Monique Polak
Hi Sophie! The funny thing is you must have written your comment about Tamora Pierce just as I was looking through my notes on the... Read More
Thursday, 18 December 2008 10:02
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Dec
16

A Day at the Shmall

First, let me explain: "shmall" is what some people call the Cavendish Mall, a shopping centre in Cote St. Luc, the Montreal neighbourhood where I grew up. As you may remember from an earlier blog entry, I've been doing writing workshops with a group of students at Hebrew Academy, which just happens to be located almost across the street from the "shmall." Together with

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Recent Comments
Guest — Esther
Hey Monique, its Esther!!! I look so clever in that picture!!! try to send me your e-mail. I;m the girl with the pink book!!!!... Read More
Tuesday, 16 December 2008 16:12
Monique Polak
You DO look clever with that pink book of yours! If you want to e-mail me directly, send your message to: monique@moniquepolak.com... Read More
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 17:10
Guest — tamar
i know some of those kids. and i live near the shamall and love that term!
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 22:27
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Dec
15

Finding My Way Back to My Story... and writer friends coming for supper

So it's Monday morning -- already 9:30. I want to get to the Y to lift weights (don't worry, nothing too heavy!), then I'm going to spend some time at my computer. I need to find my way back to the manuscript I was writing (Junkyard Dog) before I got busy with the re-write (On the George River). I started looking at Junkyard Dog on Friday -- what I need to do is re-read what I've

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Guest — Sophie B. X.
I think many things are much simpler once we begin to actually do them. The tasks look difficult but are actually not. =) Enjoy bl... Read More
Tuesday, 16 December 2008 11:00
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Dec
12

Hot Potato... or the Baby Goes to Kindergarten

I don't know if you ever heard of a game called "Hot Potato." We played it when we were kids, and the idea was to keep passing an imaginary hot potato around so it never landed in your lap. About two minutes ago, I e-mailed off a copy of my George River manuscript to Sarah Harvey, one of my editors at Orca Book Publishers in Victoria. So I got rid of the hot potato... and in a few

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Guest — Sophie B. X.
"Extreme and Wild" behavior in busy times, my feelings exactly.
Friday, 12 December 2008 12:52
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Dec
10

Expert Advice

I'm thinking of expert advice because last night I had a great talk with my friend Mark B, who lives in George River. I may have told you this already, but Mark and a friend of his (they both work at the local school) read the first first draft of my book that is set in Nunavik, Quebec and found a lot of things for me to fix. The hardest scene for me was the one with the polar bear. So, because

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Guest — Sophie B. X.
Hi Miss, I recently moved so we're unpacking boxes. We uncovered a poster yesterday, featuring two polar bears, a mother holding... Read More
Friday, 12 December 2008 08:57
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Dec
09

Less to Do, More Time to Write!!

AHHH! That's the sound of a CEGEP teacher who has nearly finished her grading! Which means I have more time to concentrate on writing. Did  I already tell you I am revising my Nunavik manuscript (the tentative title is On the George River)? It's due next Monday!! YIKES!! (That's the sound of a nervous writer.) But, so far, I'm moving along okay in the re-write. I am a little

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Dec
05

Another Day, Another School Visit!

Today, we Moniques went to Laval Liberty High School. It's a huge school -- quite a contrast to Franklin Elementary which we visited yesterday. Today we worked with Abigail Lawrence's Grade Eight English class. They are also part of the Blue Metropolis Literary Foundation's Quebec Roots project. I talked about writing; Monique D discussed photography, focusing on how to shoot a good portrait
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Guest — Sophie B. X.
I think it's necessary, at least for the journal, to pour all your thoughts into it, without thinking about the organization of th... Read More
Tuesday, 09 December 2008 07:38
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Dec
04

Today's Trip to Franklin Centre

I spent today in Franklin Centre, which is about 70 kilometers southwest of Montreal. I went there with my dear friend and photographer extraordinaire Monique Dykstra . (Monique D, by the way, photographed the necklace that appears on the front and back cover of What World Is Left).

We worked with students at Franklin Elementary School. We were there as part of a project called Quebec

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Dec
03

My Mum and Dad Come Along to Today's Talk at Westmount Library

Hello, hello... I'm just back from a talk at Westmount Library here in Montreal. The audience was mostly Grade 6 and 7 students from Westmount High. The students were great, very keen and focused; I didn't even need to make comments about their body language!! The best part of today was my mum and dad came along, too. As you probably know, my mum inspired my latest book, What World Is Left. She
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Guest — david southmayd
Thank you for a most enjoyable morning. I hadn't expected a young audience but they were wonderful . I wish my son had beeen ther... Read More
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 12:41
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Dec
02

Return Visit to Hebrew Academy

Last year, I did three creative writing sessions with a group of very keen students at Hebrew Academy. Today, I'm going back to do the first of three more sessions. Most of the students I'll be working with are ones I worked with last year -- which means I've had to come up with new material. One thing I know for sure about these students is they love to write, and they write easily

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Guest — joelle cohen
.( this is joelle from grade 6 at hebrew academy) ya sound like real fun and id know that,.All of us, together, are really coming ... Read More
Tuesday, 02 December 2008 12:59
Guest — tamar
the train goes all year round! and i remember being a kid and playing in the pirate ship that still exists, one of the few things ... Read More
Tuesday, 02 December 2008 14:50
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Nov
30

Meet My Mum -- Who Inspired What World Is Left -- and Hear Me Read A Little from the Book

Check out this link to view a short video made by the Gazette's Phil Carpenter. In it, you'll get to meet my mum, Celien Spier, whose story inspired my new book, What World Is Left. You'll also get to hear me read a little from the book. Let me know what you think of the video! Continue reading

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Guest — tamar
i like it
Monday, 01 December 2008 14:34
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Nov
28

Good Morning, Morning Pages!

So classes at Marianopolis are nearly over. Most of my correcting comes in today, and then the rest on Monday. Which means this writer isn't going to be doing much writing over the next few days. But I did start my day with writing -- like I do EVERY SINGLE DAY. Every morning, I write my "morning pages." I got the idea from a terrific book I read several years ago called The Artist
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Nov
26

Today's Visit to Beaconsfield High School

Am just back from a visit to Beaconsfield High School where I spoke to two groups of students about the writing life. I should really be at the grocery store buying ingredients for tonight's supper, but I wanted to sit right down at the computer and jot down some of the fun stuff that happened today during my school visit.

I had lunch in the school cafeteria and some of the grade seven

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Guest — christina.s.aston
Thanks for coming to BHS (beaconsfield high school) I enjoyed your visit. Everything you said was ssoooo interesting. Thanks for t... Read More
Wednesday, 26 November 2008 21:23
Guest — tamar
i wish i was still in high school. my mom and i were just talking about you and i said she should bring you to the school she work... Read More
Thursday, 27 November 2008 10:14
Guest — some one from BHS
You spelt mrs.Mattie wrong! ;D Keep writing I love your books!!
Friday, 05 December 2008 16:40
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Nov
23

Special Book Report

Lately, I've been getting a lot of e-mail from students -- mostly in the U.S. -- who are doing assignments about some of my books. These e-mails are especially satisfying to me, I think, because I am a teacher as well as a writer.

Yesterday, at a family celebration, a couple who are friends of my sister's, told me their daughter Brittany is working on a book report about What World

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Guest — humble_pie
what a good-looking group of women ! monique is to be congratulated for at least 3 accomplishments: 1 - the new book. 2 - her d... Read More
Wednesday, 26 November 2008 13:32
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Nov
20

Ashlee With Two E's

Every once in a while, I get e-mail from readers I've never met... yesterday I got a message from a girl named Ashlee (she spells it with two e's). Ashlee lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and she wrote to me about my book Scarred. She's reading it for a school project and I told her to get back to me if she had any questions about the book. So, today, Ashlee wrote again, asking how I choose
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Nov
19

American Library Association Weighs in on What World Is Left

Well, I have exciting news to report -- Booklist, an American Library Association publication, has given What World Is Left a starred review. And if you'll permit me to quote what the reviewer, Hazel Rochman, had to say... she called the book "heartbreaking" and described it as "an important contribution to the Holocaust curriculum." YIPPEE!! Then last night, I learned from

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Guest — tamar
congrats on the good reviews. haha! your hubby let them run a bad review of your book in his paper? hahaha.. i didn't see the book... Read More
Wednesday, 19 November 2008 14:09
Guest — Sophie B. X.
Congrads!! I do think taking care of yourself is the most important thing, one needs to appreciate and learn from the ups and down... Read More
Wednesday, 19 November 2008 19:24
Guest — Rachel
Congrats on the reviews- the good and the not so good (there's no such thing as bad publicity!!) I just read the last comment (Sop... Read More
Wednesday, 19 November 2008 21:57
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Nov
14

Today's Visit to Lake of Two Mountains High School

Today I met students at Lake of Two Mountains High School. Language arts teacher Lee Rother arranged the visit, which began with a yummy lunch from the school cafeteria! It turns out Lee is a specialist in mass media, a subject in which I'm also interested.

But the best part of the day was working with the students. They didn't even need my usual pep talk about body language -- they

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Guest — Estelle G.
Hello Monique. I just wanted to say that having your presence at school(LTM) inspired my writing a lot. I had a story on the way, ... Read More
Saturday, 15 November 2008 21:17
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Nov
12

Cleavage

Just testing ... I bet that subject heading piqued your interest, no? Cleavage is the name of a wonderful book of short stories I've been reading. The book's full name is Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls. The collection is edited by two YA writers: Deb Loughead and Jocelyn Shipley. Every story in the book has something to do with girls, their bodies, and their

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Guest — Kim
Sounds like some very interesting short stories. I'l try to read them over the Winter break -- I don't foresee much free time in t... Read More
Thursday, 13 November 2008 20:36
Guest — Sophie B. X.
The title sure got me. Good job! =)
Friday, 14 November 2008 16:29
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Nov
10

Elie Wiesel Interview in Today's National Post

Good morning,  good morning... I'm off to the Y, but here's the link to my interview with Elie Wiesel that appears in today's National Post: http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=944755

 

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Guest — Sophie B. X.
A bit harsh there in the beginning... =) I never knew he was a humanitarian worker either. (Bio went well)... Read More
Monday, 10 November 2008 17:27
Guest — Katie Shamash
Cool, you met Elie Weisel! Your article was great. I keep stopping by your office at Marianopolis, but it's always swamped with st... Read More
Tuesday, 11 November 2008 23:23
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Nov
06

Time for a Cup of Tea -- and To Tell You A Little About Elie Wiesel

This is the first time I've had time for a mid-day cup of tea all week. Soon, I have to shift gears and get ready for school, but I just wanted to tell you a little bit about my interview with Elie Wiesel on Tuesday night. In the end, I didn't get much one-on-one time with him, and because we were at a fundraising dinner, he had to shake hands with a lot of people who were as eager as me to
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Guest — Kim
I like the quote about witnesses, and his optimistic view on the situation. However, I still hope that there are several written (... Read More
Friday, 07 November 2008 16:02
Guest — tamar
I agree with Elie wiesel. I find that soon I will be responsible for telling my grandparents and their siblings' stories to future... Read More
Sunday, 09 November 2008 16:02
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Nov
05

Check Out What Book Elie Wiesel Is Carrying!

Okay, I confess -- I gave Elie Wiesel, the world's best known Holocaust survivor and author of over 40 books including Night -- a copy of What World Is Left. Wish I could tell you more about the things I learned from him last night, but alas, I am working on a story for The National Post about Wiesel and I'm on a tight deadline. But do check out the pic!			</div>
		
		
		
		
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Guest — Sophie B. X.
Nice pic.! =)
Friday, 07 November 2008 20:31
Guest — Kim
Nice to see a "new and improved" picture! It looks really natural, too -- and you look really happy ... Read More
Saturday, 08 November 2008 07:20
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Nov
04

Big Interview Tonight!

Today is a very exciting day for me because I am going to be interviewing ELIE WIESEL, Holocaust survivor and the world famous author of the memoir, Night. Wiesel is in Montreal for a fundraising dinner and the interview basically landed in my lap. I have taught the book Night many times, but I never dreamed that I'd be able to speak with its author. I may be too busy tomorrow to write a blog
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Nov
03

CTV Interview about What World Is Left

In case you missed it, here's the interview that aired on CTV news on Thursday, October 23. Many many thanks to Debra Arbec, host of My Montreal, for her interest in What World Is Left, and for being such a kind, sensitive interviewer. Also thanks to my friendly computer wiz for helping me figure out how to post the interview. Let me know what you think of it. Here comes the link:

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Guest — Julia at Orca
I don't see it?? Is it just me or is the link broken?
Tuesday, 04 November 2008 14:10
Guest — Cnn
Monique, Congratulations again for your book! I found your interview on CTV on the Internet: http://news.sympatico.msn.ctv.ca/To... Read More
Tuesday, 04 November 2008 20:47
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Nov
03

Too Many Things to Tell You!!

So I got back last night from a conference called Packaging Your Imagination. It's run by an amazing organization called CANSCAIP and is held every year in  Toronto. I went to lectures by several well known Canadian children's writers, and I also got to meet up with children's writers who've become my friends over the years I've been involved with CANSCAIP. And I have a

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Oct
30

Still Flying High!!

Life seems to be going a little too quickly, even for me the speed-demon! Lots to do between writing, teaching and book promotion. And I'm off this evening to Toronto for a wonderful children's writing conference offered through CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers). If you're interested, google the organization; it's terrific and has

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Guest — Kris with a "k"
Hey Miss P! Wanted to see the video! Hope you had a great time in Toronto and an excellent weekend! See you in class!... Read More
Sunday, 02 November 2008 19:34
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