7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #530: Featuring Sydney Smith

h1 April 16th, 2017 by jules

“We go so high I can see far out to sea.”


I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Joanne Schwartz’s Town Is by the Sea (Groundwood, April 2017), illustrated by Sydney Smith. You can head here to read the review, but let me say one more time here at 7-Imp: This is one of the most beautiful picture books you’ll see this year. In fact, this is one of the most beautiful picture books you’ll ever see. (Those are some serious words, but I mean them.)

I’m following up here at 7-Imp today with some art from the book, and Sydney also sent what he calls some sketches and B-sides. I thank him for sharing.



Sketches and B-sides:


Sketches of two spreads in the book
(Click each to enlarge)


Early cover sketches


Underside of dust jacket (not used in final book)
(Click to enlarge)


Final Art:


“From my house, I can see the sea.”
(Click to enlarge)


“It goes like this — house, road, grassy cliff, sea.
And town spreads out, this way and that.”

(Click to enlarge)


“And I know my father is already deep down under that sea, digging for coal.”
(Click to enlarge)


“I don’t care. I stand in the baby one, and my friend swings on the big one.
We go so high butterflies rush through my stomach. …”

(Click to enlarge)


“It’s so sunny today. … the sea is sparkling.”
(Click to enlarge)


“… I think about the bright days of summer and the dark tunnels underground.
One day, it will be my turn.”

(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


(Click to enlarge cover)


TOWN IS BY THE SEA. Copyright © 2017 by Joanne Schwartz. Illustrations © 2017 by Sydney Smith. Published by Groundwood Books, Toronto. All images reproduced by permission of Sydney Smith.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) This book, you all. I mean, it’s achingly beautiful.

1½) MST3K is back!

2) We saw Kedi and enjoyed it. I was impressed by my cat-loving daughters’ abilities to not squeal throughout the entire movie, given that it was a quiet, little movie theatre. (They squeal pretty much every time they see a cat.) Such restraint was required.

3) The 11-year-old’s glee over getting glasses, which she has always wanted (not to mention it was definitely time), as well as her glee when we stumbled upon a new Lumberjanes volume, as well as the first volume in the series where the Lumberjanes and Gotham Academy unite. (How did I miss these had come out? Bad librarian. But seeing my daughter’s joy when she unexpectedly saw them at the bookstore was pretty great.)

4) Fifth-grade band concerts.

5) Gearing up to teach my picture book grad course for the University of Tennessee this summer.

6) Friends who drop by.

7) One of my kicks (always) is my friend, Susannah. She founded a fantastic non-profit organization here in middle Tennessee, called Plant the Seed. They’ve applied for a grant that would provide $100,000 smackaroos to help them do the good work they do, which is teaching children at under-resourced schools all about gardening and where their food comes from. You can see a video here all about what they do, and please consider voting! It’s so quick and easy, and you’ll be supporting an excellent cause.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

9 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #530: Featuring Sydney Smith”

  1. This looks like a must have book. The art by Sydney Smith is gorgeous.
    Jules, I wish I could take your class.
    My kicks:
    1. Sunshine.
    2. Prepping for this week’s poems at Check It Out and Deowriter.
    3. Mailing Poetry Postcards.
    4. Poetry Rocks performance in the community. (My student group).
    5. A high school friend who responded to an FB post by sending a check to pay for school lunch for kids who ran out of money on their lunch account. This way mo brown bag lunch.
    6. A gracious offer from an author for next year.
    7. Teaching poetry to kindergartners.
    Have a terrific week.

  2. Happy Sunday/Spring/Holidays, Imps!

    Hello, Sydney! Swings are the best.

    Jules: Kedi looks adorable. You are going to have an amazing time teaching that course!

    Jone: Happy poetry month, continued!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Meeting
    2) Casting
    3) Configuring
    4) Communicating
    5) Research
    6) Preparation
    7) Music

  3. Lovely illustrations, I especially love the sun on the water.

    Jules – Kedi looks like a movie to check out. Yay for friends who drop by, new books, new glasses, and gearing up for classes.

    Jone – wasn’t the sunshine so nice yesterday? Cannot wait for my poetry postcard!

    LW – I really love kicks 5-7 this week, with extra love for kick 7 – music!

    My kicks this week:
    1) The glorious and much needed day of sunshine yesterday: yard work, dog walks, and hikes ensued.
    2) Watching a pair of birds set up house in the birdhouse in 1 of my apple trees.
    3) A good resolution for a client.
    4) Finally saw Hidden Figures and really loved it.
    5) Finally watched the first few episodes of Grace & Frankie, very fun.
    6) A smooth buttery Chardonnay from Hood River with a good cheese pizza.
    7) Baked chocolate muffins to deliver to friends. (Might have eaten a few myself.)
    7.5) Quick photo shoot with Daisy in her Easter costume, lots of treats involved.

    Happy Easter and Happy weekend Imps!

  4. I completely agree on this one. It’s breathtaking and perfect.

    My kicks this week:
    1) The above, gorgeous, book.
    2) New friends.
    3) Science fair projects that involve taking pictures of squirrels eating pistachios.
    4) Kind words from picture book heroes.
    5) Chai tea.
    6) Time with family.
    7) The NY Times Books FB live drawing videos.

  5. More soon, promise!

  6. Jone, aw dude, so many kind people in your week.

    Little Willow: If the casting was YOU getting cast (not “cats,” as I initially typed), congrats!

    Rachel: I gotta see Hidden Figures already. I love your second kick the most.

    Corinna: I love those NYT live videos too. Aren’t you doing one soon? Did I read that or dream it?

    Hope you all have a good week and that you had a good Easter, if you celebrate!

  7. Jules- I am! You must have read it somewhere? I haven’t really told anyone yet! I’ll be recording it when I’m in NY, May 9th.

  8. Corinna: Can’t wait to see it!

  9. […] — Michelle Cuevas’s Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow (Dial, September 2017), illustrated by Sydney Smith, and Holly Grant’s Wee Sister Strange (Schwartz & Wade, September 2017), illustrated by […]

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