monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

Nov
26

New Friends In Harrington Harbour

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Guest — Sharon Chubbs-Ransom
Hi, Enjoyed meeting and chatting with you so much! Just wished we could have had more time. Bill's Cove looks good Monique2.... Read More
Thursday, 03 December 2009 05:51
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Nov
22

Time To Hit the Road

...or in my case, the sky.

Tomorrow afternoon, my photographer pal Monique Dykstra and I head for Harrington

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Guest — Armen Attarian
Hello Miss, I have been able to visit your blog on and off despite the hectic semester here at Marianopolis. I heard the wonderf... Read More
Thursday, 26 November 2009 01:13
Guest — Monique
Hi Stella, Michael, Emily and Armen, I love getting comments on my blog. Thanks to all of you for writing! Stella, I promise to ke... Read More
Thursday, 26 November 2009 13:25
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Nov
18

By Golly, I Won!

IMG_02.jpgI really wasn't expecting to win the Quebec Writers' Federation Prize for Children's and

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Guest — Leone
Way to go, Monique! So happy for you!
Thursday, 19 November 2009 16:10
Guest — Monique
Thanks Leone and Frieda for your good wishes. I'm still on Cloud Nine!
Sunday, 22 November 2009 21:46
Guest — Rachel
Wow!!! Congratulations!!!
Thursday, 26 November 2009 20:49
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Nov
17

Meet David A. Poulsen

IMG_01.jpgIMG_00.jpgThis

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Nov
12

Special Day with Special Students

IMG_1.jpgIMG_11.jpgI think I've told you that this year again, I am working on a Blue Metropolis Literary Foundation

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Nov
10

New Friends at The Priory School

I knew I was going to have a good afternoon at The Priory School yesterday when I opened my book bag, laid my books out on Mrs. Riggs's desk... and I was SWARMED by students wanting to see the

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Nov
09

Back At My Desk!

Our hiking boots are back in the closet -- and I'm back at my desk!

Oh, it was a good vacation! And oh, I am looking forward to getting back to my miracles manuscript! Except for writing

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Nov
02

What's Better Than a Four-Day Hike in the Grand Canyon?

IMG_1533.jpgIMG_1635.jpgThere's only one thing better than a four day hike in the Grand Canyon: THE SHOWER AFTERWARDS!!!

The hike was amazing. We saw a California condor

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Oct
30

Helloo helloo from the South Rim!

We're at the south rim of the Grand Canyon, and after our backpacks are loaded, we'll head down to the base of the canyon. We've got a laptop with us, but of course, we'll be out of

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Oct
28

Go Take a Hike!

Actually, "Go take a hike!" is a very rude thing to say!

Except in our case, that's exactly what we're about to do: go and take a big hike. My husband and I are heading back

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Oct
27

Meeting the 2009-2010 Quebec Roots Team

Since 2006, I've had the great privilege of participating in an exciting educational program called Quebec Roots, run by Montreal's Blue Metropolis Literary Foundation. The program allows writers

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Oct
23

Report on a Very Happy Launch

IMG.1555.jpgI'm always telling my students not to use the word "very," but today, well, you'

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Guest — tamar
it's law school in ottawa. but my mom was delighted to have met you. I finished junk yard dog friday night and enjoyed it. My rewa... Read More
Sunday, 25 October 2009 23:27
Guest — Jill Murray
Congrats Monique! Just wanted to let you know I finally downloaded my photos from your launch and made a Flickr set for them: http... Read More
Saturday, 07 November 2009 19:53
Guest — Jill Murray
Oh, and I managed to get a blog post up! http://www.jillmurray.com/2009/11/07/monique-polak-book-launch/... Read More
Saturday, 07 November 2009 20:40
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Oct
22

Launch Day... and a great old radio interview

Today is launch day. In less than 90 minutes, I've got to be at Babar en ville, Montreal's number one kids' bookstore, to launch my two new books: The Middle of Everywhere and <

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Oct
20

Back to Kindergarten!

What, you may ask, was I doing today in a kindergarten class?

Having fun -- and working!

Lately, I've been concentrating mostly on my new manuscript. I've done some book reviews

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Oct
19

On Not Being Able to Read a Book Without a Pencil...

Can you read a book without a pencil between your fingers? Not me. When we're at the beach or on a hike, my husband always thinks it's strange that I can't read a book without a pencil.

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Guest — Leone
Wow! A two book launch! Is that what you'd call being "prolific"? (I would!) Have a great time Thursday evening, and congrats ... Read More
Tuesday, 20 October 2009 13:56
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Oct
15

Inside and Outside

For me, writing is an inside thing. I don't mean that I write indoors (which I usually do), I mean that I write from my inside. I've heard some writers say that they write for an imaginary

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Recent Comments
Guest — Rosa
Congratulations on the short-listing! It's been a while since I last read your blog, but I saw announcements about your new books.... Read More
Sunday, 18 October 2009 23:27
Monique Polak
Hey Rosa! Nice to "hear" your "voice." Glad you are in love with Gerry Snyder's poetry. Lucky you to be taking Zsolt's class. Hope... Read More
Monday, 19 October 2009 21:04
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Oct
13

Coffee Date With Fellow Writers

I'm buzzing -- could be because I just had a latte with three kid-lit writers... but it's also because of the shared energy at our table.

Joyce Scharf, Continue reading

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Oct
08

Stories that Stick

Today's blog entry is inspired by a comment I got from John Abbott College English teacher Lesley Checkland-Orr. Lesley wrote to say that on her drive home this week, she thought about something

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Guest — gabriela
This reminds me so much of our stuff of nonsense class.. To this day, even in university, your stories are the ones that stuck wit... Read More
Tuesday, 13 October 2009 21:55
Monique Polak
Hi Gabriela! How fun to hear from you! I'm glad my stories stuck with you (though it's true you were in a very special Nonsense cl... Read More
Monday, 19 October 2009 21:05
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Oct
06

Happy Day at John Abbott College!

IMG_1111.jpgThe truth is -- I miss teaching. It's a great privilege to be on sabbatical  and to be writing

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Guest — Michelle
Hey Monique, you were extremely energetic and interesting to have as a speaker. Your thoughts on body language were so accurate, y... Read More
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 15:16
Guest — Lesley
Thanks so much for coming, Monique. It was great to see you again; you look just the same as you did all these years ago when we b... Read More
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 15:35
Guest — Emilie
Good afternoon Mrs. Polak! I would also simply like to take the time to thank you for your wonderful visit on Tuesday. Your advice... Read More
Thursday, 08 October 2009 15:06
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Oct
05

So D'You Like the New Banner?

Graphic designer Cindy Murphy is responsible for the new banner at the top of this webpage. D'you like it? With two new books coming out this month (The Middle of Everywhere and Junkyard

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Guest — Elene Moussa
Hi Miss Polak! Hope you are enjoying your semester off from Marianopolis and that your writing goes well! I am contacting you beca... Read More
Monday, 05 October 2009 15:41
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Oct
01

Talking To Myself (Do You Talk to Yourself, Too?)

Maybe it's because I'm on sabbatical and have no students this semester... maybe it's because I'm getting used to the idea that my daughter doesn't live here anymore...

but

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Sep
28

Back from the Burlington Book Fair

IMG1588.jpgToday's pic is of the window at Border's bookstore in Burlington, Vermont. And you see some

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Guest — Leda
Great to meet you in Burlington--and I can't wait to read your books! Leda Schubert
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 18:47
Guest — afgsghg
Heroes copies in the tank is no longer the only wow gold candidate, but a copy of the RAI Druid tanks are still the best candidate... Read More
Friday, 30 October 2009 22:29
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Sep
24

Back to the Drawing Board!

So it's time to "get back to the drawing board" -- or in my case, the carpet! I do some of my best story planning on the pink and green and red and blue and yellow carpet in my little

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Guest — Monique
Hey "MMarion", I LOVE HEARING FROM FORMER STUDENTS. And you have a daughter, now! How great! Yes, you must also do what you love t... Read More
Monday, 28 September 2009 13:03
Guest — Monique
Just wanted to say I just figured out who the Monique is who wrote the first comment on this blog entry (don't want you to think I... Read More
Monday, 28 September 2009 13:07
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Sep
21

Mothers and Daughters Talk Books

IMG_1526.jpgTonight was a very special night for me because I did a little talk at Montreal's Jewish Public

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Guest — Rachel
I went to the Mother-Daughter Book Club at the JPL for a while with my mom - it was great. Now my mom goes to her own book club an... Read More
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 23:27
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Sep
17

Meet Rachel Martinez!

I've mentioned before that one of the bonuses of being a writer is the people you get to meet through your books. Now in the case of Rachel Martinez

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Sep
15

Research Trip to Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre

IMG_1530_2.jpgMy husband and I spent the weekend in Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre, a little town about 3-1/2 hours from

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Sep
10

On-line Interview -- and News on the Stray Cat

So I've been meaning to tell you a little about the on-line interview I did two nights ago with Derrick Grose, editor of School Libraries in Canada . I did the interview at my neighbours

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Sep
08

It's a Two Interview Kind of a Day!

Usually, I'm the one who does the interviewing -- but not today. Today, I'm being interviewed not once, but twice. The first interview just happened and it was for 570 News, a radio station

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Sep
06

Movies, Movies, Movies

It's the final weekend of the Montreal Film Festival and we've been seeing movies, movies, movies. We've gone to three in the last two days and I'm going to another three tomorrow.

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Sep
04

Three Amigas!

IMG_1523.jpgThat's me in today's pic, with my two amigas -- fellow writers Jane Barclay and Lori Weber

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Guest — Lori Weber
Aren't women just like wine? We get more beautiful with age as our confidence grows and we learn to be happiest with the simple th... Read More
Saturday, 05 September 2009 09:08
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Sep
02

That Man You See Out for a Walk...

That man you see out for a walk... just may happen to be a writer. At least,  that's what I learned this morning when I was jogging down Monkland Ave., near my house in Montreal.

I spotted

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Aug
31

Cat Characters

123.jpgSo this weekend our friend Carole Wilbourn, who works in Manhattan as a cat therapist, came for a visit. Carole is the ideal houseguest -- independent and easy to please; in fact, she is a little like

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Aug
27

A Little Autumn in the Air

So this is going to be my first autumn in 44 years that I haven't gone to school! I'm on sabbatical from my teaching job at Marianopolis College

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Aug
25

Back to Work!

Nothing like a week of bicycling uphill (well there was A LOT of uphill anyhow) to make this writer eager to get back to work.

I've got a boost of energy because my editor, Sarah Harvey at

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Aug
23

Busy Day in Georgeville

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Aug
20

Ever Meet a Real Live "Character"?

We writers are always on the look-out for real live "characters" -- people we can use in our stories. Well, this week on our bike trip around (well, okay, half-way around Lake Champlain ...
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Aug
18

Going Downhill!

Well, hello there! I'm writing to you from the town of Westport, New York. I can't find my reading glasses so I might make some typing errors. My husband and I are on a bike trip. We were attempting

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Aug
12

A Bonus of the Writing Life: New Friends in Far Places

Once a book is published, it has a life of its own. If you're lucky and your book is well distributed, it will be read by many people. I remember how excited I was when my daughter told me she

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Aug
10

Lynda Barry on Creativity

I spent the weekend with a very dear friend in Kingston, Ontario. On the drive home, I listened to a really good CBC interview with American novelist/graphic artist/playwright Lynda Barry. I have to

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Aug
06

Thursday Afternoon Smoothie!

I just had a delicious mango-pineapple smoothie at a cafe on Sherbrooke St., in NDG, the Montreal neighbourhood where I live. Better even than the smoothie (which was totally yum-yum) was the company

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Recent Comments
Guest — Michèle
Hi Miss P! That smoothie sure sounds yummy! Anyways, I was reading the Gazette this morning and sure enough I stumbled on your b... Read More
Saturday, 08 August 2009 17:07
Monique Polak
Hi Michele!! Nice to get your message! Can you believe summer is coming to an end? Yikes!! I'm writing away and that makes me happ... Read More
Monday, 10 August 2009 08:09
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Aug
05

You Need to Be a Little in Love with Your Narrator!

Well, at least I need to be a little in love wih my narrator. Most YA (young adult) novels are written in the first person (of all of mine, only one, On the Game, is told from the

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Aug
02

This is What My Office Floor Looks Like

IMG_1549.jpgPretty messy, no? I shot that photo for you this morning because I want you to see what the floor

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Jul
30

Thinking Time!!!

We all have our weaknesses and though I hate to admit it, mine might be THINKING!! I'm way better at DOING!! (If you know me, you'll know that I am a very active person.) So you can imagine

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Recent Comments
Guest — *Jayda*
Hi Monique! Well I'm glad u finally thought of something! And I can't wait till I get ur books from chapters indigo! I orderd sc... Read More
Monday, 03 August 2009 19:45
Guest — Monique
How nice to hear from you, Jayda! Hope you are having a good summer. And be sure to let me know what you think about Scarred and H... Read More
Monday, 03 August 2009 20:06
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Jul
27

I'm Not the Only Snoop Around

This weekend, I was reading in the Montreal Gazette about film director Ken Scott and how he came up with the idea for his latest movie, Les doigts croches (Sticky Fingers), which is about

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Jul
23

Delilah's Dreams

You may remember that after one of my school visits this spring, I mentioned a student named Delilah in one of my blog entries. Delilah was determined to improve her writing and she was going to try

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Guest — Brittany W
Hi Ms. Polak, I'm Brittany, one of the kids that listened to your lecture at Lake of Two Mountains High School a good couple of m... Read More
Tuesday, 18 August 2009 19:36
Guest — Monique
Hey Brittany! You don't NEED ME to wish you luck on your journey to becoming a published author... that's because I have no doubt ... Read More
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 22:27
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Jul
20

We Are Our Own Best Material

Today again, I can't take credit for the title of my blog entry. The line, "we are our own best material" is a paraphrase of something Irish-American writer and teacher Frank McCourt

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Jul
16

"Imagination Saved Me"

I got the title for today's blog entry from an interview I heard yesterday on CBC radio. Literary journalist Eleanor Wachtel was interviewing Jackie Kay, a Scottish poet. Jackie, who is bi-racial,
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Jul
14

Ahh, the Power of a Beautiful Paragraph

I don't know about you... but a beautiful paragraph can sure have power over me. Sometimes, I think life is all about language. When you think about it, words can start wars; they can also make

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Jul
12

First Review of Junkyard Dog

So I've got what's called an "advance reading copy" of Junkyard Dog -- one of my two new books coming out this fall. An advance reading copy means it is an uncorrected proof

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Jul
08

Hope You Didn't Think I'd Go a Whole Week Without A Blog Entry!

Well, hello, hello... I'm writing to you from Hammondsport, New York, a very cute little town in the Finger Lakes region of New York. We're here for a little holiday -- though I am not REALLY

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Jul
03

Special Gifts

I have found that when I am hard at work on a project (the way I am now), life has a way of serving up special gifts (though they are not the sort of gifts that come in wrapped packages!). For example

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Guest — deniz
Can't wait to start reading the Gazette blog too!
Monday, 06 July 2009 22:02
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Jun
29

Three Cheers for Grandmothers!

So I am working on Chapter Six of my new manuscript. I get some of my ideas when I am just waking up, or just falling asleep. This weekend, I was waking up and wondering what would happen in Chapter

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Jun
22

Snowy Day in June

A snowy day in June? Now how could that be? It's actually warm and sunny in Montreal today, but in my head it's snowing. That's because in my head I'm in the far north!

I spent

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Jun
18

Meet Kristin Butcher

One of my favourite parts of being a children's writer is getting to meet other children's writers. This week, I "met" Kristin Butcher. I put the word "met" in quotations

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Recent Comments
Guest — Kristin
Hi again, Monique. Thank you for including me in your blog. It was great talking with you on the phone the other day. I am really ... Read More
Thursday, 18 June 2009 14:29
Guest — Monique
Well it's not every day I get a comment from a fellow author. Thanks for posting Kristin -- and see you in November!
Monday, 22 June 2009 20:05
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Jun
16

The Boy in this Picture is Not Sleeping!

IMG_1522.jpgJust so you know... the boy in today's photo is NOT SLEEPING! He is THINKING OF AN IDEA FOR A

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Recent Comments
Guest — Priya
Oh my god its Mathieu
Tuesday, 16 June 2009 18:29
Guest — Bilal
Geez Man! This thing is fun! I really like what Mrs. Monique wrote. It's really good. 8) :-* - =D... Read More
Tuesday, 16 June 2009 23:48
Guest — Oriana
This is weird... I saw Mrs. Monique take a picture of Mathieu thinking (it looks a lot like sleeping), but I didn't know she woul... Read More
Tuesday, 23 June 2009 16:57
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Jun
15

New Friends at Parkdale School

Ever have one of those days that just zipped by? Well, that's what happened to me today at Parkdale School in Ville St. Laurent, Quebec.

Do you remember when I told you about my beloved

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Guest — Oriana
YAY MISS SHETZER!!!!!! ... Read More
Tuesday, 23 June 2009 17:00
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Jun
11

Tea Time

IMG_1525.jpgThe title "Tea Time" means things are going well today in this writer's life. The sheets are hanging out on the clothesline (do you already know that I have an obsession with clotheslines

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Jun
09

Doing Difficult Things

One of the characters in the novel I am reading -- Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn -- is a TV writer. Writing is difficult for him: "He felt, while sitting in front of his computer

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Jun
07

Getting Personal!

Last semester, in my Writing for Children class at Marianopolis College, we talked a lot about the connection between our real lives and our stories. I'm one of those authors who draws on memories

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Jun
02

To Outline or Not To Outline, That is the Question

So I'm working on Chapter Two of my new manuscript and I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I don't know what's going to happen next. But one thing I do know: I am having fun

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Recent Comments
Guest — Maureen Fitzgerald
Monique...I am a 62-year old Irish Catholic 'adolescent' who attended your interview at Thomas More last evening. I found your sto... Read More
Thursday, 04 June 2009 15:41
Guest — Louise (Mayerovitch) Elkin
Dear Monique: I just finished reading your essay "Hug it out, class" in today's Globe and Mail, and I decided that I immediately ... Read More
Friday, 05 June 2009 12:08
Guest — Monique
Hi Maureen and Louise, I've been away for a couple of days... how nice to come home and find your messages. I'm going to write to ... Read More
Friday, 05 June 2009 19:45
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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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Recent Comments
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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Recent Comments
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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Recent Comments
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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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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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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