monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

2 minutes reading time (497 words)

New Friends at Forest Hill Senior Elementary School

I've had a busy, but exciting day at Forest Hill Senior Elementary in St-Lazare, which is about a 45-minute drive west of where I live in Montreal.

In today's pic, you'll meet a couple of my new friends: librarian Maria Cavaiuolo who invited me to visit, and Grade Six English teacher Jean Sancton. But I also made over 100 other new friends -- the grades six and five students with whom I worked today.

Miss Sancton's students have been studying the Holocaust and they were especially interested to hear about my book, What World Is Left, a historical novel based on my own mum's experience in a Nazi concentration camp. Of course, that part of my presentation was pretty serious, but we also had some fun moments.

I told the students that writing makes me happy. That made me think of asking what makes them happy. Jared said "P53!" (he had to explain to me that that's a video game); Ryan said "Pizza!" and Mattias gave an answer that made me think he may have the writing bug, too. He said, "Listening in on my brother's conversations with his friends!" (Hope your brother isn't reading this, Mattias!)

One of the highlights of my day was lunchtime... that's because I ate my sandwich in the company of 17 aspiring writers who all had good questions for me. One of them, Michael, was actually working on his manuscript during lunch! A student named Amy told me she's written four manuscripts, one with the intriguing title, "My Brother is an Alien." Amy also told me the fun news that her mom Fiona is one of my fans!

But I want to end today's blog entry with a comment from a student named Victoria. I'd been talking about the book based on my mum's past, and about using trouble we've experienced to bring our own stories to life. Victoria asked, "What if you don't want to remember the trouble?"

If you know me, you will know that I usually have a quick answer to most questions... but this time, I didn't. In fact, I'm still thinking about what you asked, Victoria. But I think my answer to you has something to do with the passage of time. Sometimes, we are not ready to remember a difficult time. Sometimes, as time passes, we grow more ready. Sometimes, our daughters who happen to be writers give us a push. But as I told the students, I'd say that overall, my mum is glad she told me about what happened to her in Theresienstadt. She says that if her story gives young people hope, well then, that's what is most important.

Tomorrow, I'm heading back to Forest Hill to work with the Grades 5 and 6 students I did not see today. Plus, I'm hoping to have more good company at lunch! Thanks to all of you for such a stimulating, fun day! Hope you learned a lot -- and caught the writing bug!!

Starting to Feel Like I Belong at Forest Hill Seni...
Super Great Day at FACE
 

Comments

Guest - Amy on Thursday, 01 December 2011 17:56

HI,i saw you today at forest hill sr. i'm in grade 6 and i told you i had written 4 books and i am working on a new one called "deserted dessert and i also told you my mom was a fan so i was wonderin if you can give me tips like how shoud i end it
happy sh finds her husband or like se never found him but had foundsomone new????what should i do ????;D

HI,i saw you today at forest hill sr. i'm in grade 6 and i told you i had written 4 books and i am working on a new one called "deserted dessert and i also told you my mom was a fan so i was wonderin if you can give me tips like how shoud i end it happy sh finds her husband or like se never found him but had foundsomone new????what should i do ????:D;D
Guest - Amy on Thursday, 01 December 2011 18:16

thank you so mch i found this:she doesn't find her husband because he had died in a plane crash but meanwhile searching fr her husband she mt a manto help her but instead she falls in love with him (a accidentle love)wow it is sort of happy except she never found her fiance the way she wanted to (alive)instead she met a german man and they are happy together so not happy tale

thank you so mch i found this:she doesn't find her husband because he had died in a plane crash but meanwhile searching fr her husband she mt a manto help her but instead she falls in love with him (a accidentle love)wow it is sort of happy except she never found her fiance the way she wanted to (alive)instead she met a german man and they are happy together so not happy tale
Guest - anonomous on Thursday, 01 December 2011 18:37

you are so amzing i think you should write forever don't stop
you rock monique


i saw you at forest hill sr. today!

you are so amzing i think you should write forever don't stop you rock monique i saw you at forest hill sr. today!
Guest - Samantha on Thursday, 01 December 2011 18:52

Hello,I'm also from Forest Hill SR. I'm in grade 5 and i have written a poem before. So here's my story

I was looking around on the internet and I saw an add that said poem contest for one thousand dollars and my friend recently past away he was only 7. So I sent his father a card with a poem on it . Then I saw the add and ran upstairs asked my mom if I can enter the contest she said yes and so I grabbed the card before we sent it and copied the poem down.Then sent the poem,about a week later I got a letter saying I was a semi finalist and it said I was a published author.They had a form saying I can buy the book and of course we did. After a month I got the book and had my poem in it. The End

Here's my poem :

When Someone Dies

When someone you love passes away you feel broken in every way.
one day you look back but you really don't want to look back.
You have memories in your head that you never want to let go of.
But when that someone passes away you just want to cry.[b

Hello,I'm also from Forest Hill SR. I'm in grade 5 and i have written a poem before. So here's my story I was looking around on the internet and I saw an add that said poem contest for one thousand dollars and my friend recently past away he was only 7. So I sent his father a card with a poem on it . Then I saw the add and ran upstairs asked my mom if I can enter the contest she said yes and so I grabbed the card before we sent it and copied the poem down.Then sent the poem,about a week later I got a letter saying I was a semi finalist and it said I was a published author.They had a form saying I can buy the book and of course we did. After a month I got the book and had my poem in it. The End Here's my poem : When Someone Dies When someone you love passes away you feel broken in every way. one day you look back but you really don't want to look back. You have memories in your head that you never want to let go of. But when that someone passes away you just want to cry.[b
Guest - amy on Thursday, 01 December 2011 18:59

was that sopposed to rhym because the begging did but the end didn't but that is still cool what book was it on?

was that sopposed to rhym because the begging did but the end didn't but that is still cool what book was it on?
Guest - amy on Thursday, 01 December 2011 19:26

wow jean sancton is my teacher it's easy to make friends with hershe is so nice she is the best eacher ever

wow jean sancton is my teacher it's easy to make friends with hershe is so nice she is the best eacher ever
Guest - Julia :D on Thursday, 01 December 2011 20:33

hi!
first of all, i am one of the people who had lunch with you, i was the one who forgot her question :P
Anyways, thank you so very much for coming today. I love to write but sometimes it feels like i'm not writing for anything important. I am now inspired you are an amazing bubbly fantastic exciting person with fantastic ideas. Ashley - who said she was on the competitive dance team - gave me an idea. I will write a story about it and i hope it is ok if I send you a bit for some help
Thanks!!
-Julia

hi! first of all, i am one of the people who had lunch with you, i was the one who forgot her question :P Anyways, thank you so very much for coming today. I love to write but sometimes it feels like i'm not writing for anything important. I am now inspired :D you are an amazing bubbly fantastic exciting person with fantastic ideas. Ashley - who said she was on the competitive dance team - gave me an idea. I will write a story about it and i hope it is ok if I send you a bit for some help :D Thanks!! -Julia :)
Guest - Julia :D on Thursday, 01 December 2011 20:34

forgot to add, i am hoping i will you find your book no more pranks it looks great

forgot to add, i am hoping i will you find your book [i]no more pranks[/i] it looks great :D
Guest - Ela on Friday, 02 December 2011 15:41

Hi Monique I also love to write and read. I usually have my nose in a book. I make little stories and you gave good tips.
I really want to be an artist so you encouraged me to do what I want.
Thank you!!!!!

(p.s I was im in gr. 6 in ms. Kims class and if ya remember I was the one in a black skirt and plaid shirt):P

Hi Monique I also love to write and read. I usually have my nose in a book. I make little stories and you gave good tips. I really want to be an artist so you encouraged me to do what I want. Thank you!!!!! (p.s I was im in gr. 6 in ms. Kims class and if ya remember I was the one in a black skirt and plaid shirt):):D:P
Guest - kailee on Friday, 02 December 2011 18:05

Hi Monique, Im in Gr.6 Mrs. Sanctons call. My book called through a horses eyes is going really well. For some reason I find that I write about something and then change to another subject quickly. I think you were by far the funniest,coolest and most interesting author i have seen or heard about.in my life. You have inspired me and now I am going to try better than i can do when I have a book report or writing test.;D
I hope I see you again soon,and I am just wondering what I could add to my story later on.

PS. So far I know i will write about a girl who loves riding but then she falls off and has a brain injury and has to stay in the hospital.She is now terrified of horses and has a troubble learning things agaiin.
Kailee

Hi Monique, Im in Gr.6 Mrs. Sanctons call. My book called through a horses eyes is going really well. For some reason I find that I write about something and then change to another subject quickly. I think you were by far the funniest,coolest and most interesting author i have seen or heard about.in my life. You have inspired me and now I am going to try better than i can do when I have a book report or writing test.;D I hope I see you again soon,and I am just wondering what I could add to my story later on. PS. So far I know i will write about a girl who loves riding but then she falls off and has a brain injury and has to stay in the hospital.She is now terrified of horses and has a troubble learning things agaiin. Kailee :D
Guest - amy on Sunday, 04 December 2011 15:00

i couldn't come on friday because i had volleyball practise but i would have i'm so sorry it was just the first meeting so i couldn't miss it!!!!!!!! i asked my frineds to take notes so i wouldn't miss a thing

you rock

i couldn't come on friday because i had volleyball practise but i would have i'm so sorry it was just the first meeting so i couldn't miss it!!!!!!!! i asked my frineds to take notes so i wouldn't miss a thing you rock
Guest - Monique P on Sunday, 04 December 2011 15:02

WOW! It is amazing for me to get so many comments from students in one school. So, first of all, thanks to: Amy, Anonymous, Kaylee, Samantha, Student from the Library, Julia, Ashley, Jade, Catherine, Ela and Kailee!
Samantha, I am not surprised that your poem was published and thanks for sharing it on my blog. I am so sorry that you lost a friend at such a young age. One thing that's amazing though, and also positive, is that you managed to find a way to transform your sorrow into something beautiful (your poem). That shows a lot of maturity and creativity.
Ashley, you asked about whether you should do a cover page when you submit your manuscript to the publisher. I'd say keep the cover page simple and straightforward. The focus should be on strong writing, though you could always make a fancy cover page and just keep it for yourself.
Jade, I know we already talked on Friday about how to end a love story, but I thought I'd mention it again here in case other students are wondering the same thing. As I told you, you need to find your own right ending. But my tip would be: try to make your characters grow or change in some way. Love does change us, don't you agree?
Kailee, I like your story so far a lot! I guess now your protagonist has to find a way to get over her fear of horses. Focus on what your character is like. Figure out everything you can about her. What situation would make her want to get back on a horse -- maybe if it's a way to help someone else??
Hope I've answered all your questions. I'm going to teach writing at a school in the Gaspé for a few days this week, but will be back at my desk by Thursday or Friday. Have a great week, you guys!!

WOW! It is amazing for me to get so many comments from students in one school. So, first of all, thanks to: Amy, Anonymous, Kaylee, Samantha, Student from the Library, Julia, Ashley, Jade, Catherine, Ela and Kailee! Samantha, I am not surprised that your poem was published and thanks for sharing it on my blog. I am so sorry that you lost a friend at such a young age. One thing that's amazing though, and also positive, is that you managed to find a way to transform your sorrow into something beautiful (your poem). That shows a lot of maturity and creativity. Ashley, you asked about whether you should do a cover page when you submit your manuscript to the publisher. I'd say keep the cover page simple and straightforward. The focus should be on strong writing, though you could always make a fancy cover page and just keep it for yourself. Jade, I know we already talked on Friday about how to end a love story, but I thought I'd mention it again here in case other students are wondering the same thing. As I told you, you need to find your own right ending. But my tip would be: try to make your characters grow or change in some way. Love does change us, don't you agree? Kailee, I like your story so far a lot! I guess now your protagonist has to find a way to get over her fear of horses. Focus on what your character is like. Figure out everything you can about her. What situation would make her want to get back on a horse -- maybe if it's a way to help someone else?? Hope I've answered all your questions. I'm going to teach writing at a school in the Gaspé for a few days this week, but will be back at my desk by Thursday or Friday. Have a great week, you guys!!
Guest - Samantha on Thursday, 08 December 2011 19:13

Hi!
I was one of the students that was with you at lunch on the first day at Forest Hill Sr. , and I had written a book a while ago about a vampire. You inpired me to keep writing it, and here is the first chapter out of eleven so far:

Once upon a time, hundreds of years ago, there was a village called Dimsrell. The people who lived there never went out after dark, no one ever got visitors, and they only saw the sun only once a whole year! It had to be the eeriest place in the world! Why was this tiny village so scary, you ask? Well, it didn’t used to be. You see, it all started on one regular sunny day in Dimsrell, when a tall, grim-looking man walked down the street, heading for the old abandoned house at the end of the long road that led to the next town. Nobody knew who he was or why he was there, but they figured he was a newcomer to Dimsrell and decided to go welcome him when he was settled and came out of his house. But he never did. This worried and even frightened the villagers and so someone from the village decided to go welcome him in his home, because surely he was all unpacked by now, a month or two later. But nobody in the village ever saw him again.
Everyone stayed well away from his house, too frightened to ever go near him, until one day he decided to reveal himself. He called himself the Count Vlad, and told them a very limited description about himself. One little boy noticed he had very sharp incisors. He asked “Hey mister Count, why are your teeth so long?”. The Count then said the words that would have the village of Dimsrell under his complete control: “Because I, am a vampire.”

I am calling my book "The Curse of the Count". I chose that title because later in the book you find out the Count has a cursed staff (it's pretty hard to explain :P), and it takes away a certain number of years from you depending on however many minutes you have it.

I hope you like it and I want to read all your books!

From,
Samantha ;D

Hi! I was one of the students that was with you at lunch on the first day at Forest Hill Sr. , and I had written a book a while ago about a vampire. You inpired me to keep writing it, and here is the first chapter out of eleven so far: Once upon a time, hundreds of years ago, there was a village called Dimsrell. The people who lived there never went out after dark, no one ever got visitors, and they only saw the sun only once a whole year! It had to be the eeriest place in the world! Why was this tiny village so scary, you ask? Well, it didn’t used to be. You see, it all started on one regular sunny day in Dimsrell, when a tall, grim-looking man walked down the street, heading for the old abandoned house at the end of the long road that led to the next town. Nobody knew who he was or why he was there, but they figured he was a newcomer to Dimsrell and decided to go welcome him when he was settled and came out of his house. But he never did. This worried and even frightened the villagers and so someone from the village decided to go welcome him in his home, because surely he was all unpacked by now, a month or two later. But nobody in the village ever saw him again. Everyone stayed well away from his house, too frightened to ever go near him, until one day he decided to reveal himself. He called himself the Count Vlad, and told them a very limited description about himself. One little boy noticed he had very sharp incisors. He asked “Hey mister Count, why are your teeth so long?”. The Count then said the words that would have the village of Dimsrell under his complete control: “Because I, am a vampire.” I am calling my book "The Curse of the Count". I chose that title because later in the book you find out the Count has a cursed staff (it's pretty hard to explain :P), and it takes away a certain number of years from you depending on however many minutes you have it. I hope you like it and I want to read all your books! From, Samantha ;D
Guest - kaitlin T :) on Saturday, 17 December 2011 17:04

I absolutly can't wait to read your books I am asking for "Home Invaision" and "What world is left" for Christmas! They seem like such amazing books!
YOUR A GREAT AUTHOR!!!

P.S (I was in Mrs .Kims class that day when you came to visit Forest Hill SR.) 8)

I absolutly can't wait to read your books I am asking for "Home Invaision" and "What world is left" for Christmas! They seem like such amazing books! YOUR A GREAT AUTHOR!!! P.S (I was in Mrs .Kims class that day when you came to visit Forest Hill SR.) 8) :)
Guest - Monique P on Sunday, 18 December 2011 20:22

Hello hello Samantha and Kaitlin, Sorry for not getting to your comments with my usual speed. I've been in and out of town the last few weeks and usually, I only check for comments on my most recent blog entry. Anyway, thanks you two for your messages.
Samantha, you are SUCH A GOOD WRITER. I want to know more about what happens in Dimsrell (cool name for your village too!). Your opening is very atmospheric, which is great. Make sure you develop your characters so that they feel real -- even if one of them has sharp incisors (I found that line very funny, by the way). Kaitlin, I am very touched that you want two of my books for Christmas. Wow, that may be one of the best compliments I ever got!! Have a great holiday both of you. Keep up your great writing!!

Hello hello Samantha and Kaitlin, Sorry for not getting to your comments with my usual speed. I've been in and out of town the last few weeks and usually, I only check for comments on my most recent blog entry. Anyway, thanks you two for your messages. Samantha, you are SUCH A GOOD WRITER. I want to know more about what happens in Dimsrell (cool name for your village too!). Your opening is very atmospheric, which is great. Make sure you develop your characters so that they feel real -- even if one of them has sharp incisors (I found that line very funny, by the way). Kaitlin, I am very touched that you want two of my books for Christmas. Wow, that may be one of the best compliments I ever got!! Have a great holiday both of you. Keep up your great writing!!
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