Books written and/or illustrated by Sydney Smith
Bogart, Jo Ellen. The White Cat and the Monk : a Retelling of the Poem ‘Pangur Bán’. Toronto; Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2016.
A monk spends hours studying while his cat spends hours hunting in the darkness. As a new day dawns, the cat has found his mouse and the monk has found the meaning of his manuscript. A retelling of an Irish poem from the 9th century, this picture book illustrated by Sydney Smith is accompanied by an explanatory author’s note. It is recommended for inquisitive readers 7 to 14 years old. [Cats; Middle Ages; Monks; Pets; Truth]
Scott, Jordan. I Talk Like a River. New York: Neal Porter Books, Holiday House, 2020.
A little boy wakes up every morning with the sounds of words stuck in his throat. He can’t make them come out properly and so goes through his days without saying a word. Afraid. Sad. But then his father takes him down to the river – to walk along the bank and watch the water bubbling and churning, whirling and crashing – and explains that he is like that river. He stutters. Beyond the rapids, however, there is smooth water. He feels less lonely. Based on the author’s own experiences growing up, this beautiful picture book – illustrated by the award-winning Sydney Smith – is highly recommended for readers of all ages.
Scott, Jordan. My Baba’s Garden. New York: Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, 2023.
How does the love of nature begin? For the little boy in this story, it begins with seeing his grandmother’s house filled with food from her garden: carrots, apples, garlic, beets, jars of pickles. It begins with walking to school with his grandmother and watching her rescue worms on rainy days. It begins with planting tiny tomato seeds in a small pot on a window sill. It begins with paying attention. A wonderfully evocative picture book based on the author’s childhood in Port Moody, British Columbia and illustrated by Sydney Smith. Highly recommended for children 5 to 10 years old. Highly recommended for readers learning how illustrations and words work together to tell a story. Highly recommended for readers of any age who want to learn how to include descriptive details in their writing.
Smith, Sydney. Do You Remember? Toronto: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2023.
How do we hold on to the ones we love once they are gone? By remembering them. By sharing our memories with the people who are still with us. By recalling events that once seemed insignificant but now have become precious. This deeply touching picture book by an award-winning author and illustrator tells the story of a young boy remembering his father. Snuggled up together with his mother in a new apartment, the two of them quietly recall a picnic, a birthday, a move to a new city. Softly coloured illustrations – sometimes with no words – help to tell a story of loss and resilience for readers five years old and up. Most highly recommended.