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 was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. She is the author of Town Is by the Sea, illustrated by Sydney Smith, winner of the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, among many other honors. Her first picture book, Our Corner Grocery Store, illustrated by Laura Beingessner, was nominated for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. She has written several other highly acclaimed picture books, including Pinny in Summer and Pinny in Fall, both illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant. Joanne has been a children’s librarian for more than twenty-five years. She lives in Toronto.
Sydney Smith was born in rural Nova Scotia and has been drawing from an early age. Since graduating from NSCAD University, he has illustrated numerous children’s books, including the highly acclaimed wordless picture book Sidewalk Flowers, conceived by Jon Arno Lawson, which won a Governor General’s Award, among many other honours, and was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book. He is also the illustrator of Town Is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, for which he was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal, and which won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Prize. Small in the City is the first picture book that Sydney has written as well as illustrated. He lives and works in Toronto with his wife and son.
Awards and Praise
Winner — CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal
- 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
- Winner TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, 2018
- Commended Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book, 2017
- Commended BookPage Best Children's & Young Adult Books, 2017
- Commended Kirkus Best Picture Books, 2017
- Commended New York Times Notable Children’s Books, 2017
- Winner CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, 2018
- Commended Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year, 2018
- Commended School Library Journal Best Books, 2017