Groundwood Books

Town Is by the Sea

Illustrated by Sydney Smith • Written by Joanne Schwartz

For students in grades K - 4 | Published April 01, 2017 | ISBN 9781554988716
JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Multigenerational

Cover of Town Is by the Sea

Regular price $21.95 CAD

52 pages | 8.25 in × 11 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

Town Is by the Sea

Sydney Smith • Joanne Schwartz

Winner of CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal
Winner of the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award

A young boy wakes up to the sound of the sea, visits his grandfather’s grave after lunch and comes home to a simple family dinner with his family, but all the while his mind strays to his father digging for coal deep down under the sea. Stunning illustrations by Sydney Smith, the award-winning illustrator of Sidewalk Flowers, show the striking contrast between a sparkling seaside day and the darkness underground where the miners dig.

With curriculum connections to communities and the history of mining, this beautifully understated and haunting story brings a piece of Canadian history to life. The ever-present ocean and inevitable pattern of life in a Cape Breton mining town will enthrall children and move adult readers.

About the Creators

Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith was born in rural Nova Scotia and has been drawing from an early age. Since graduating from NSCAD University, he has illustrated multiple children’s books, including the highly acclaimed wordless picture book Sidewalk Flowers, conceived by Jon Arno Lawson, which won a Governor General’s Award, was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book and has been long-listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal. He is also the illustrator of Grant and Tillie Go Walking by Monica Kulling and The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart, both highly acclaimed. Sydney has received a number of other awards for his illustrations, including the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration. He now lives in Toronto and works in a shared studio space in Chinatown.

Joanne Schwartz

JOANNE SCHWARTZ was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Her first picture book, Our Corner Grocery Store, illustrated by Laura Beingessner, was nominated for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. She is also the author of Pinny in Summer, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant, and Town Is by the Sea, illustrated by Sydney Smith, which was a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book. Joanne has been a children’s librarian for more than twenty-five years. She lives in Toronto.

Awards and Praise

Praise for Town Is By The Sea:

A quiet book that will stay with readers long after they have closed it. Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

Art and text meld for a powerful glimpse at a way of life that begs inspection. A thoughtful and haunting book that will stay with readers. School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

This is a moving story, and a fine example of text and pictures in perfect harmony. Horn Book, STARRED REVIEW

Hauntingly beautiful. Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Town Is by the Sea offers some of the most beautiful paintings of sunshine on water ever painted … a powerful and profound work of art that tweaks our perspective and transcends its subject. Shelf Awareness

Smith’s expressive, evocative spreads contrast the light-soaked landscape above with the night-black mine below … a sensitive way of helping readers understand that, for some, the idea of choosing a career is a luxury. Publishers Weekly

This is one of the most beautiful picture books you’ll see this year. It’s picture book-making at its very best. BookPage

Only rarely in a picture book do words and art interact as potently and intimately as they do in this luminous collaboration. Toronto Star

Sydney Smith's gorgeous, airy illustrations showcase the beauty of childhood in the seaside town. … [Schwartz] perfectly captures the matter-of-fact thinking of a small child. Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW

This quietly devastating book … stirs timeless, elemental emotions. The New York Times

Exquisitely rendered, it's a subtle day in the life title … This is, in short, a magnificent book. A Fuse 8 Production

"this story ebbs and flows like the sea itself . . . one of the best illustrated books of the year . . ." Huffington Post

  • Winner Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration, 2018
  • Commended CCBC Best Books for Kids and Teens, 2017
  • Commended Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book, 2017
  • Commended BookPage Best Children's & Young Adult Books, 2017
  • Commended Shelf Awareness Best Books of the Year, 2017
  • Short-listed Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award, 2018
  • Winner TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, 2018
  • Winner CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, 2018
  • Commended Denver Public Library Best Children's & Teen Books, 2017
  • Commended School Library Journal Best Books, 2017