monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

coming soon spring 2019

Planet Grief

Planet GriefPublisher: Orca, 2018

What a crappy way to spend a weekend. The always-sarcastic Abby would rather be playing soccer, and the cagily quiet Christopher thinks a grief retreat is a waste of time.Neither of them wants to spend two days talking about their feelings. But despite their best efforts to stay aloof, Abby and Christopher are drawn into the lives of the other kids at the retreat. Maybe their stories will make them rethink how they are dealing with their own losses.

"Planet Grief reads true thanks to Polak's literary craft and her research, but also because of the writer's decades-long experience as a teacher of young people. Never one to skirt difficult issues, Monique Polak has given us a book that speaks to the people around us of any age who are struggling with the loss of a loved one" -- Montreal Review of Books

"this is an honest story about loss and sadness. The author introduces a little mystery and some well placed dollops of humour that keep the book from becoming bleak. Planet Grief offers young readers a powerful and validating story about feelings, empathy, honesty and coping with loss" -- Canadian Children's Booknews

"Good bibliotherapy...Middle school students will enjoy and benefit from this book. The writing is engaging, the topic is important, and the message is well-delivered." -- SLC_Online (School Library Connection)

"Compelling" -- Kirkus Review


Read more: Planet Grief

Passover Family

passover familyPublisher: Orca, 2018

Teach babies and toddlers about this important Jewish festival by exploring what happens during the Passover seder with this delightful photographic board book.

Read more: Passover Family

Bullies Rule

bullies rulePublisher: Orca, 2017

Daniel Abel is surprised when, instead of being punished for "pantsing" another eighth-grader, he is invited to become an ambassador of Mountview High at the school's upcoming open house. What he doesn't realize is that he is part of a social experiment on bullying being conducted by the local university.

Read more: Bullies Rule

Leggings Revolt

leggings-revoltPublisher: Orca, 2016

Eric and his buddies have left behind their all boys school to attend high school with girls. Eager to find his place in this exciting new world, Eric joins the student life committee, unaware that he is expected to enforce the school’s strict dress code.

Read more: Leggings Revolt

Learning The Ropes

learning the ropesPublisher: Orca, 2015

Mandy dreams of a career in the circus, working as an aerialist who specializes in rope climbing. When she is accepted into the prestigious Montreal Circus College summer program, she feels that she is finally on her way to fulfilling her dreams.

Read more: Learning The Ropes

Hate Mail

hate mailPublisher: Orca, 2014

Jordie''s cousin Todd has moved back to Montreal and is attending Jordie''s high school. Todd has autism and requires an aide. Todd has not been welcomed in the school. He''s known as a freak, and even other parents seem to resent Todd''s special needs.

Read more: Hate Mail

Straight Punch

straight-punch1Publisher: Orca, 2014

Tessa McPhail has a bad habit—tagging—that lands her at New Directions, an alternative school in Montreal’s toughest neighborhood. The school is far from Tessa’s home and full of troubled kids. To make matters worse, half of every school day is devoted to boxing. The other students think boxing is cool. Not Tessa, who cannot handle violence of any kind. But when a neighbor starts a petition to have New Directions closed down, Tessa discovers something worth fighting for, both in and out of the ring.

Read more: Straight Punch

So Much It Hurts

somuchithurts-bigPublisher: Orca, 2013

Iris is sorry. Sorry that she no longer hangs out with her BFF. Sorry that she's not closer to her mother. But most of all, she's sorry she makes Mick angry.

If all the world's a stage, then Iris's life has become a violent drama, starring a man whose fists are at odds with the eloquence of his words.

Read more: So Much It Hurts


pyroPublisher: Orca, 2012

Ever since he was small, Franklin has been soothed by fire. Staring into the flames helps Franklin forget his problems. And right now, he''s got a lot to forget. Franklin''s mother has left the family home to be with her hairdresser boyfriend. Franklin''s father, the mayor of Montreal West, is too busy worrying about his public image to do anything about the family. As a rash of local fires competes with upcoming elections for media attention, Franklin''s father has to work hard to keep the public happy. And Franklin has to reconsider his romance with fire.

Read more: Pyro


miraclevillePublisher: Orca, 2011

Sixteen-year-old Ani lives in the tiny Quebec town of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, where her family runs Saintly Souvenirs, a tourist shop catering to the many pilgrims who come to the town seeking a miracle. Ani is a good girl: devout, virginal and obedient. Nothing like her younger sister Colette. When Ani's faith is tested, and she is confronted with something shocking in her mother's past, she has to rethink her whole existence and decide what direction she wants her life to take.

"Read Miracleville and stay tuned for the miracles which happen within the pages of this outstanding, dare I say heavenly, young adult novel!" -- CM Magazine

Read more: Miracleville

The Middle of Everywhere

middle-of-everywherePublisher: Orca, 2009

Noah Thorpe is spending the school term in George River, in Quebec's Far North. At first, Noah thinks the Inuit kids he meets there have a strange way of looking at the world, plus they eat raw meat and seal blubber. Most have never left George River. But Noah's views change when he realizes he will have to learn a few lessons from his Inuit buddies if he wants to survive in the North.


Read more: The Middle of Everywhere

Junkyard Dog

junkyardogPublisher: Orca, 2009

Justin has a way with animals. When he gets an after-school job with a company that rents out guard dogs, Justin is thrilled. But he soon learns the business is not all that it appears.


Read more: Junkyard Dog