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• Nov. 26, 2018

One story about Canada's history not commonly told in kid's books is the experiences of mining families from Rural Nova Scotia.

In Town Is by the Sea, author Joanne Schwartz tells this story through the eyes of a boy who goes about his day, calling on a friend, running an errand for his mother, and listening to the ball game on the radio, all while his thoughts are never far from his father who is digging for coal deep underground in the pits.

The story is set in a sparkling seaside mining town in the 1950s, with stunning illustrations by award-winning Canadian illustrator, Sydney Smith, that capture the boy's life in stark contrast to the darkness of working in the mines.

Interior artwork from Town Is by the Sea, written by Joanne Schwartz and illustrated by Sydney Smith. (Groundwood Books)

Despite enjoying an idyllic summer day, the boy is aware that he too will eventually inherit the same career path as his father and the other men in his community.

“One day,” the boy concludes, “it will be my turn.... In my town, that’s the way it goes.”

Town Is by the Sea was one of two winners of the 2018 TD Canadian Children's Literature Awards which celebrates the best of Canadian children's literature. Schwartz and Smith jointly won a $50,000 prize awarded annually to the best book written for children under the age of 12 at a ceremony in Toronto at the end of October.

New this year, to help recognize authors and illustrators outstanding achievements, TD increased the overall grand prize amount to $50,000 compared to $30,000 in previous years, making these awards Canada's largest awards in children's literature.

Meanwhile, the 14th annual Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse occurred earlier this month at a gala in Montreal celebrating French language children's books. Marianne Dubuc took home the grand prize for both the Prix TD and the Prix Harry Black award for her picture book Le chemin de la montagne.

The story is one of friendship filled with tenderness that highlights the importance of the transmission of knowledge between generations. The book offers readers a sweet coming of age story and an ode to the happiness of simple things. In the story, every sunny Sunday, Madame Blaireau takes the path that leads to the top of the mountain where, during her journey, she greets her friends, contemplates the surrounding nature and collects mushrooms and other finds. One morning, she meets Lulu, a small cat, who would also like to see the top of the world.

“This year, the judges were excited by the humanistic gestures presented in Marianne Dubuc's book, as well as by the tenderness of the subject and the luminous and soothing illustrations,” says Magda Tadros, Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

To meet all of the distinguished authors and illustrators who were nominated this year, read here.

TD is a proud sponsor of several Canada-wide literacy programs including TD Canadian Children’s Book Week, TD Summer Reading Club, and TD Grade One Book Giveaway through The Ready Commitment to help increase access to reading opportunities for Canadian youth. By supporting early learning, TD helps create the conditions so everyone has the chance to succeed and participate fully in what the future has to offer.

Want to learn more about TD Canadian Children’s Book Week?
Meet the finalists for the 2018 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award

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