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Orca Spring 2022 (April through July)

Why Humans Work
How Jobs Shape Our Lives and Our World
By (author): Monique Polak Illustrated by: Suharu Ogawa
Monique Polak ,

Illustrated by :

Suharu Ogawa


Orca Book Publishers - Victoria



Product Form:


Form detail:

Sewn, Paper over boards
Hardcover , Sewn, Paper over boards


Juvenile: Age (years) 9 - 12, Grade (CAN) 4 - 8, Grade (US) 4 - 8, Reading age 9 - 12
May 17, 2022
Print Run: 6000
$24.95 CAD


9in x 7 x 0.5 in | 500 gr

Page Count:

96 pages


34 Colour illustrations , 64 Halftones, color
FSC certified – mixed sources C016245
Orca Book Publishers
Children’s / Teenage general interest: Work, politics and society|Social discrimination and social justice|Sociology: work and labour|Children’s / Teenage general interest: Places and peoples|Interest age: from c 9 years
  • Short Description
Part of the nonfiction Orca Think series for middle-grade readers, this illustrated book explores why we work and why people around the world end up in the jobs, careers and professions they do.
Let's get to work!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I bet you've been asked that question before. But have you ever thought about why humans work? There are almost 3.5 billion people working in the world today, and that number is growing. In Why Do We Work? author Monique Polak investigates the past, present and future of jobs, including how work has also been shaped by discrimination, privilege and child labor. Meet a variety of working professionals and explore why we have careers, vocations and professions. How is the way we work changing, and what will it look like in the future?

Key Selling Points

  • This book explores the history of work; work versus play; why we have the jobs, careers and professions that we do; work-life balance and what future careers could look like.
  • Work is a universal topic: there are almost 3.5 billion people working in the world today.
  • Addresses key issues in the working world today including inequality, discrimination, child labor, slavery, the role of privilege and how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the world of work.
  • Kids work! Their first introduction to the working world starts with homework.
  • Includes profiles of all kinds of workers, including a professional clown, a milkman, a neurologist, a plumber and a screenwriter.

Monique Polak is the author of more than thirty books for young people. She is the three-time winner of the Quebec Writers' Federation Prize for Children's and YA Literature for her novels Hate Mail, What World is Left and Room for One More. In addition to teaching at Marianopolis College in Montreal, Monique is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Maclean's Magazine, the Montreal Gazette and other Postmedia newspapers. She is also a columnist on ICI Radio-Canada's Plus on est de fous, plus on lit! In 2016, Monique was the CBC/Quebec Writers' Federation inaugural writer-in-residence. Monique lives in Montreal.

Suharu Ogawa is a Toronto-based illustrator. Her love for drawing started in a kindergarten art school after being kicked out of calligraphy class for refusing to convert to right-handedness. Formally trained in art history and cultural anthropology, she worked for several years as a university librarian until her passion for illustration called her out of that career and into the pursuit of a lifelong dream. Since then, Suharu has created illustrations for magazines, public art projects and children's books, including Why Humans Work: How Jobs Shape Our Lives and Our World in the Orca Think line. She also teaches illustration at OCAD University in Toronto.

Marketing and Promotional Plans

  • Print and online advertising campaigns
  • Promotion at national and regional school, library and trade conferences
  • Extensive ARC distribution, including NetGalley
  • Blog and social media promotion
  • Outreach in Orca newsletters

“Situates work squarely within our wondering, playful, and imaginative worlds...There are many reasons to like and welcome this book. Recommended.” - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“ A realistic, trustworthy narration...Elementary and middle school librarians would find this to be an easy fit for their collections. Recommended.” - School Library Connection

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