Advanced Search ISBN List

Add Best Comp

Add comparable title

Remove comparable title

Groundwood Spring 2017

Town Is by the Sea
By (author): Joanne Schwartz Illustrated by: Sydney Smith
Joanne Schwartz ,

Illustrated by :

Sydney Smith


Groundwood Books - Toronto



Product Form:


Form detail:

Printed dust jacket
Hardcover , Printed dust jacket


Juvenile: Age (years) 5 - 9, Grade (US) K - 4
Apr 01, 2017
$21.95 CAD


8.25in x 11 x 0.3 in | 1.15 lb

Page Count:

52 pages


full color throughout
Groundwood Books Ltd
Groundwood Books
JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Multigenerational
Governor General's Literary Award, Young People's Literature — Illustrated Books 2017, Short-listed Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book 2017, Commended New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award 2017, Commended Shelf Awareness Best Books of the Year 2017, Commended School Library Journal Best Books 2017, Commended Kirkus Best Picture Books 2017, Commended New York Times Notable Children’s Books 2017, Commended Horn Book Fanfare 2017, Commended CCBC Best Books for Kids and Teens 2017, Commended Denver Public Library Best Children's & Teen Books 2017, Commended BookPage Best Children's & Young Adult Books 2017, Commended CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018, Winner ALSC Notable Children's Books 2018, Commended Cooperative Children's Book Center Best of the Year 2018, Commended Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award 2018, Short-listed Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration 2018, Winner Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year 2018, Commended TD Canadian Children's Literature Award 2018, Winner NPR Book Concierge 2017, Commended
  • Short Description
In a small mining town, a young boy enjoys a summer day, but his thoughts constantly return to his father, who is digging for coal deep under the sea.

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.

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 is the creator of Small in the City, which received the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Ezra Jack Keats Award. Other books he has illustrated include The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart; Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson; and Town Is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, which received the Kate Greenaway Medal. His other accolades include two Governor General’s Awards and four New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year citations. He is also the illustrator of I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott, which received the Schneider Family Book Award and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and My Baba’s Garden, also written by Jordan Scott. Sydney lives with his family in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

A quiet book that will stay with readers long after they have closed it. - Kirkus Reviews

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

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

Hauntingly beautiful. - Booklist

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 and Quire

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

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

of 19

Forgotten Password

Please enter your email address and click submit. An email with instructions on resetting your password will be sent to you.

Forgotten Password

An email has been sent out with instructions for resetting your password.