monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

3 minutes reading time (555 words)

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' house since they have a built-in microphone and camera on their computer. Derrick had lots of great questions about my last book, What World Is Left. He mentioned he saw a connection between What World Is Left, a historical novel based on my mum's experience in a Nazi concentration camp, and my book Scarred, which is about a contemporary teen who mutilates herself. I had never thought before that there was a connection between those two books, but talking to Derrick, I realized there was one. Both books, as he pointed out, are about young people who've gone through hellish times, but find ways of moving on without forgetting what they've been through. Who'd have thought an author could learn something new about her book from one of her readers?! Cool, no?!

I wanted to know some stuff about Derrick, too, and he kindly agreed to answer some of my questions by e-mail. He is, I learned, a teacher-librarian at Lisgar Collegiate Institute, a public high school in Ottawa. I asked Derrick whether he could remember his favourite book from when he was growing up. Here's what he told me: "It is difficult to say what my favourite book was when I was a child, but I do remember my Grade Two teacher, Miss. Seaver, reading my class a biography of the African explorer, Pierre de Brazza . Then we built an African village from construction paper.  Fifteen years later (in 1979) I started my teacher career in Nigeria, working with CUSO.  I am not claiming that there was a direct cause and effect relationship, but I was captivated by that book!"

One of the reasons I love kids' book is that they can have an important positive influence on young readers. So, I like to think it's thanks to Miss Seaver and that biography of Pierre de Brazza, that Derrick traveled to Africa to work with CUSO . (If any of you readers out there know Miss Seaver, do say hello and tell her what a great job she did!!)

About that stray kittycat: today he went to see the vet. He's now vaccinated against every possible cat disease, and the poor thing was treated for ear mites and fleas. The only thing I forgot to do was bring the camera so I could post a picture for you here. It looks as if my other neighbours' daughter Catherine may adopt him. And Dominique, the tech at the vet clinic, was very impressed by the little fellow. (She wasn't too put off by the fleas and the ear mites.) She thought he was very muscular, likely a result of having lived outside for some time. She said, "He's a pitbull!" (which I took as a great compliment since pit bulls are tough.) And here's a story for you: it turned out it was the vet's birthday -- so we got everyone in the office to sing him Happy Birthday -- in English and French. Okay, I gotta go. I've still got a little writing time before I need to think about dinner for humans and a certain furry friend of mine!

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Monday, 04 December 2023

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