#blogbookaday: Town Is By the Sea

3 Jan

31213527.jpgSummary: 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. ” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: This is the quiet type of story that is often overlooked in the picture book field – at least by young children it seems. But it’s also a story that can open up a lot of discussion with elementary school-age children about community, expectations and what history looked like for many families throughout North America (and still does in some places).

Personal Reaction: The thick, black watercolor line can be found on every page and continually reminds the reader of the boy’s father – working in the dark underground mine. I found this to be a very powerful story, one of awareness and acceptance for the life this little boy lives, but it also made me so sad to see that there were so few options for the boy to pursue. I know nothing of Cape Breton Island, but I enjoyed reading about my neighbors to the north in this story.

Title: Town Is by the Sea
Author: Joanne Schwartz
Illustrator: Sydney Smit
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2017

#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!


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