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Groundwood Books

Town Is by the Sea

Written by Joanne Schwartz • Illustrated by Sydney Smith

For kids 5 - 9 years old | Published April 01, 2017 | ISBN 9781554988716

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

Joanne Schwartz • Sydney Smith

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.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.

Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)

Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

About the Creators

Joanne Schwartz

Joanne Schwartz is an author and children’s librarian at the Toronto Public Library who has a special interest in picture books. She lives with her two daughters in Toronto, Ontario.

Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith was born and educated in Nova Scotia, Canada. He graduated from NSCAD University and has since illustrated children’s books for multiple authors and received awards for his illustrations, including the Lillian Shepard Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration. Sydney lives and works in Toronto.

Awards and Praise

Winner — CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal

  • Commended New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award, 2017
  • Commended New York Times Notable Children’s Books, 2017
  • Commended Shelf Awareness Best Books of the Year, 2017
  • Short-listed Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award, 2018
  • Short-listed Governor General's Literary Award, Young People's Literature — Illustrated Books, 2017
  • Commended Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book, 2017
  • Commended School Library Journal Best Books, 2017
  • Commended NPR Book Concierge, 2017
  • Winner Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration, 2018
  • Commended Horn Book Fanfare, 2017
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