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Sydney Smith wins prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal

Sydney Smith

(Photograph by Steve Farmer)

Nova Scotia’s Sydney Smith has won this year’s Kate Greenaway Medal for his illustrations in Town is by the Sea, written by Joanne Schwartz (Groundwood Books). The award, along with the Carnegie Medal (won by British novelist Geraldine McCaughrean for Where the World Ends), is overseen by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and voted on by librarians; the awards are considered the U.K.’s oldest and most prestigious children’s book honours.

Smith receives a gold medal and £500 worth of books from CILIP to donate to a library of his choice. Since 2000, each winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal has also been given the £5,000 Colin Mears Award, bequeathed by Mears, an accountant and children’s book collector.

Smith was in attendance at the June 18 CILIP event, held at the British Library in London, and he gave a moving speech: “Too often you believe that growing up in a small town is unrelatable … it’s in the quiet moments that we see the stories that we share.”

Town is by the Sea, about a young boy’s day-to-day activities in a Cape Breton mining town, was named best picture book of the year by Q&Q and has won many other awards and honours, including the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration, and was named one of the New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2017.