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1001 Stories Collection

Town is by the Sea

1001 Town Is By The Sea
Added on 13th August 2020

Author Joanne Swartz
Illustrator Sydney Smith
First published 2017
Publisher Groundwood Books Ltd, Toronto, Canada

The haunting story of the life of a child in a seaside mining town.

Story

Once there was a young boy, who lived by the sea. He has a simple life, with a loving family. Whilst he watches the sea from the shore, his dad works hard in the mines, deep beneath the waves. This inspiring yet haunting story explores what it means to be part of a community and the history of mining in Canada.

Why we chose it

With its beautiful evocative illustrations and simple text, Town is by the Sea captures a place and a moment in time. Although set in Canada it reflects the life of any mining town in the 1950s when sons still followed their fathers underground. In the north east of England Easington Colliery ran for four miles under the North Sea.

Where it came from

Joanne Schwartz is a children’s librarian and author from Toronto. Her first book Our Corner Grocery Store (2009) was a Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award Finalist, illustrated by Laura Beingessner. Town is by the Sea was mainly inspired by her interest in the mining history in Cape Breton, where she spent her childhood.

Sydney Smith is a Canadian illustrator who, in 2015, was awarded the Governor General’s Award for Illustrated Children’s Books with Sidewalk Flowers (2015), co-illustrated and written by JonArno Lawson. He also illustrated Small in the City (2019) and I Talk Like a River (2020).

Where it went next

Town is by the Sea received the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and was a Governor General’s Literary Award nominee, as well as a Boston-Globe Horn Book Honouree in 2017. It was reprinted by Walker Books in 2018 and it won the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal.

Associated stories

Joanne Schwartz has written other children’s books, including: The Legend of the Fog (2011), Grandmother Ptarmigan (2013), Pinny in Summer (2016) and Pinny in Fall (2018).

Added on 13th August 2020

Author Joanne Swartz
Illustrator Sydney Smith
First published 2017
Publisher Groundwood Books Ltd, Toronto, Canada