monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

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.


"Monique Polak has written a powerful novel that blends the emotional insecurities of young teenage boys with their need to be strong: socially, physically and emotionally. Noah's internal monologue rings true; what he learns is a lesson young readers -- male and female -- can follow and believe in.... Polak delivers her tale with a simplicity and realism that bring the readers into the northern world. Polak incorporates the customs and language of the Inuit seemlessly into her narrative, facilitating readers' comfort and acceptance of her story, and helping us to feel that the world she depicts not only could be, but is, essentially true" -- Resource Links

"A truly enjoyable novel.... This well crafted story brings together a number of topical and very Canadian issues, such as climate change and its effect on the north and its communities, as well as the many embarrassments from past treatment of the Inuit and First Nation's peoples.... [Noah's] first person voice resonates with authenticity" -- Canadian Materials

"Add this to survival/adventure collections" -- School Library Journal

"A great deal of information about daily life and Inuit culture is packed into the recounting of a few days in the community" -- Kirkus

"the commotion (storms, polar bears, and tragedy at camp) keeps our attention" -- Booklist

"a dramatic, engaging novel that doubles as an excellent teaching tool, fostering awareness of Northern issues and Inuit culture"-- Montreal Gazette

"a page turner. Along the way Noah learns a lot about Qallunat offenses against the Inuit and about noticing and listening, true survival skills in this part of the world" -- Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media

"a quieter, finding-your-inner-strength-and compassion story" -- NRRLS (Northeast Massachusetts Regional Library System) Youth Services Book Review

"Noah's greatest adventure is discovering that the middle of nowhere can be the beginning of something new" -- The Alan Review

Noah "learns to acknowledge the depth of the suffering of the Inuit (in past and present), to respect the Inuit experience, and also to appreciate the value of their perspective, the wonder of their resilience, and the magnificence of the wilderness they love. Monique Polak's The Middle of Everywhere is a well-crafted, revealing look at Inuit culture. As Noah deals with his culture shock, learns from his mistakes and adjusts his misconceptions, readers get the privilege of following him on his realistic journey. This is a memorable book -- a very worthwhile and important read for youth who are open to learning about the lived experiences of others with much to teach" -- Canadian Children's Book News