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Canadian picture books make New York Times’s Best of 2017 list

Toronto illustrator Sydney Smith makes an appearance on the New York Times’s list of best illustrated children’s books of the year for the third year in a row. His 2017 picture book Town Is by the Sea (Groundwood Books), written by Nova Scotia–born author Joanne Schwartz, is one of 10 titles selected for The New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Awards, newly rebranded in its 65th year. Town Is by the Sea tells the story of a young boy growing up in a 1950s seaside mining town.

Author-illustrator Steven Guarnaccia, Caldecott Honor–winning children’s book creator Marjorie Priceman, and NYPL Children’s Center head librarian Louise Lareau selected the list, which also includes Akiko Miyakoshi’s The Way Home in the Night, published by Toronto-based Kids Can Press.

NYT says of Town Is by the Sea: “In brown, gray and black leavened by soft yellows and blues, Smith’s ardent paintings capture the brilliance of the sun on the sea and the smudgy darkness of a mine with equal intensity, creating an exquisitely personal feeling of the movement of time and history.”