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Orca HONOR through December 2023

What World is Left
2nd edition
By (author): Monique Polak
Monique Polak


Orca Book Publishers - Victoria



Product Form:


Form detail:

Trade, Adhesive bound, Laminated cover
Paperback , Trade, Adhesive bound, Laminated cover


Young Adult : Age (years) 12, Grade (CAN) 8 - 12, Grade (US) 8 - 12, Reading age 12
May 17, 2022
$15.95 CAD


8.25in x 5.5 x 0.63 in | 320 gr

Page Count:

240 pages


Revised front and back matter, including a new Preface from the author and an updated References page.
FSC certified – mixed sources C016245
Orca Book Publishers
YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Historical / Holocaust
Children’s / Teenage fiction: Historical fiction|Children’s / Teenage personal and social topics: Life skills and choices|c 1938 to c 1946 (World War Two period)|Interest age: from c 12 years|Relating to Jewish people and groups
Czech Republic
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens 2022, Commended Booklist Editor's Choice 2008, Commended Resource Links "The Year's Best" 2008, Commended Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award nominee 2010, Short-listed ALA Best Books for Young Adults 2010, Short-listed Quebec Writers' Federation Literature Prize 2009, Winner CCBC Best Books 2010, Commended
  • Short Description
In this novel for teen readers, a Dutch Jewish teenager is sent to a "model" concentration camp with her family.
Right and wrong have lost their meaning for Anneke.

“Heartbreaking. An important addition to the Holocaust curriculum.”—Booklist, starred review

A pampered child used to having her own way, Anneke Van Raalte lives outside Amsterdam, where her father is a cartoonist for an Amsterdam newspaper. Though Anneke's family is Jewish, her religion means little to her. Anneke's life changes in 1942 when the Nazis invade Holland and she and her family are deported to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Not only are conditions in the camp appalling, but the camp is the site of an elaborate hoax: the Nazis are determined to convince the world that Theresienstadt is an idyllic place and that European Jews are thriving under the Nazi regime. Because he is an artist, Anneke's father is compelled to help in the propaganda campaign, and Anneke finds herself torn between her loyalty to her family and her sense of what is right. What World is Left was inspired by the experiences of the author's mother, who was imprisoned in Theresienstadt during World War II.

Key Selling Points

  • A reissue of the 2008 award-winning YA novel.
  • What World is Left has garnered dozens of rave reviews, including a starred review from Booklist
  • Winner of the 2009 Quebec Writers' Federation Literature Prize for Children's and YA Literature.
  • This book was inspired by the author’s mother’s experience during the Holocaust.
  • Revised front and back matter, including a new Preface from the author, a Discussion Guide and an updated References page.
  • Free Study Guide available at orcabook.com.

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.

Contributor Website

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

★ "Heartbreaking. An important addition to the Holocaust curriculum." - Booklist, starred review

"A very personal, thought-provoking and, ultimately, hopeful book." - The Jewish Independant

"[Offers] a candid look at a father's presumed collusion, a perspective rarely seen in YA literature about the Holocaust." - Publishers Weekly

"[This] realistic novel, written in memoir format, raises questions of moral principles and beliefs while it portrays the horrors of the Holocaust." - School Library Journal

"Full of hope...This volume makes for great reading and an excellent resource for a school library." - Canadian Children's Book News

"Through Anneke's eyes, author Monique Polak presents an astonishing and depressing event." - CM Magazine

"A powerful story of growing up in unspeakable conditions, of human suffering, loss and, ultimately, hope." - The Chronicle Herald

"The underlying truth of what happened and how her family survived is really what makes this utterly compelling fiction…I am so grateful to [Monique and other authors like her] who tackle these really difficult stories and write unflinching books for teenagers." - Nikki Tate, "All Points West," CBC Radio One

"The pressure and urgency of inspiration, not to mention tears and blood, is palpable everywhere." - The Montreal Gazette

"This book certainly holds its own in the canon of Holocaust-based fiction for the young adult audience...Polak balances this [dark reality] with uplifting moments of friendship, family tenderness and even romance." - Resource Links

"Takes the reader to the heart of the horror by creating a character whose vivid confusion, disbelief, and innocence are immediate and powerful." - The Rover

"An excellent novel—a great tale of overcoming adversity in a time of such dark despair." - TeensReadToo.com

"Recommended." - Tucson Unified School District

"The descriptive narrative is cohesive, well-constructed, and compelling and provides a different view of what a man deemed necessary to survive. - Tri State Young Adult Book Review Committee

"This book is well-written, the characters are developed so well you can relate to them, the setting is described such that you can picture it in your mind, and the action and suspense make you keep turning the pages." - YALSA YA Galley Teen Review

"Well written, thought provoking, and a solid addition to the canon of Holocaust fiction - perfect for reading lists and teens who enjoy historical fiction." - VOYA

"This well-written, painful story is a good addition to the genre of Holocaust fiction… Recommended." - Library Media Connection

"Polak's story breathes life into a period fading from memory." - Montreal Review of Books

"Intriguing and quite unique...The reader will undoubtedly find much to think about. I would recommend What World is Left to anyone interested in this often-overlooked piece of history." - What If? Magazine

“Polak writes authentically...An unusual Holocaust novel told through the eyes of a cognizant, questioning teen.” - Kirkus Reviews

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