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list price: $0.99
also available: Paperback
published: Oct 2008
pages: 232
publisher: Orca Book Publishers

What World is Left

by Monique Polak

tagged: holocaust, values & virtues, general (see also headings under social themes)
0 of 5
0 ratings
list price: $0.99
also available: Paperback
published: Oct 2008
pages: 232
publisher: Orca Book Publishers

A pampered child used to having her own way, Anneke Van Raalte lives outside Amsterdam, where her father is a cartoonist for the 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.

About the Author

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.

Author profile page >
Recommended Age and Grade
12 to 18
8 to 12
  • Short-listed, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award nominee
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books
  • Short-listed, ALA Best Books for Young Adults
  • Winner, Quebec Writers' Federation Literature Prize
  • Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
  • Commended, Booklist Editor's Choice
Editorial Reviews

[Starred review] "Heartbreaking. An important addition to the Holocaust curriculum."

— Booklist

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

— The Jewish Independant

"[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

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

— The Montreal Gazette

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

— The Chronicle Herald

"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

"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."

— "All Points West," CBC Radio One

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

— Kirkus Reviews

"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

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

— CM Magazine

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

— Publishers Weekly

"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

"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

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



— Tucson Unified School District

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


"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

"Full of hope...This volume makes for great reading and an excellent resource for a school library."

— Canadian Children's Book News

"Polak's story breathes life into a period fading from memory."

— Montreal Review of Books

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

— Library Media Connection

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