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published: Apr 2017
publisher: Groundwood Books Ltd

Town Is by the Sea

by Joanne Schwartz, illustrated by Sydney Smith

tagged: multigenerational, post-confederation (1867-)
0 of 5
0 ratings
list price: $21.95
also available: eBook
published: Apr 2017
publisher: Groundwood Books Ltd

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 Authors
Joanne Schwartz was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. She has been a children’s librarian in Toronto for over twenty years. Joanne has written articles for Canadian Children’s Book News and other publications. Her picture books include Our Corner Grocery Store, City Alphabet, and City Numbers. She has collaborated with Inuit elder Qaunaq Mikkigak on picture book versions of two traditional Inuit tales, The Legend of the Fog and Grandmother Ptarmigan. Our Corner Grocery Store was nominated for the 2010 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. Joanne lives in Toronto with her two daughters.
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SYDNEY SMITH is an illustrator born and bred in Nova Scotia. He attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and has been in Halifax since receiving his BFA in 2006. Since then, he has collaborated with many musicians and authors, including two children's books with Sheree Fitch. He was awarded the Mayor's Award for Mable Murple in 2011.
Author profile page >
Contributor Notes

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.

Recommended Age and Grade
5 to 9
k to 4
  • Winner, Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration
  • Commended, Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year
  • Commended, ALSC Notable Children's Books
  • Winner, CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal
  • Winner, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award
  • Commended, Cooperative Children's Book Center Best of the Year
  • Short-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award
  • Commended, Horn Book Fanfare
  • Commended, Shelf Awareness Best Books of the Year
  • Commended, Kirkus Best Picture Books
  • Commended, New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award
  • Commended, New York Times Notable Children’s Books
  • Commended, NPR Book Concierge
  • Commended, Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids and Teens
  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award, Young People's Literature — Illustrated Books
  • Commended, School Library Journal Best Books
  • Commended, BookPage Best Children's & Young Adult Books
  • Commended, Denver Public Library Best Children's & Teen Books
Editorial Review

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