Town Is by the Sea

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by Joanne Schwartz

Illustrated by Sydney Smith

Groundwood Books

April 11, 2017

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, 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 history to life. The ever-present ocean and inevitable pattern of life in a maritime mining town will enthrall children and move adult readers.

 “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

 “A quiet book that will stay with readers long after they have closed it.” –Kirkus Reviews starred review

 “Town Is by the Sea is a powerful and profound work of art that tweaks our perspective and transcends its subject.” — Shelf Awareness starred review

 “Schwartz’s historical narrative…perfectly captures the matter-of-fact thinking of a small child…. But the subtle, flowing poetry of her words, combined with Smith’s powerful illustrations, will make Town Is by the Sea an adult favourite as well.” —Quill & Quire starred review

 “Smith’s (The White Cat and the Monk) expressive, evocative spreads contrast the light-soaked landscape above with the night-black mine below, and the boy’s varied activities with his father’s fixed routine.” —Publishers Weekly