Town is by the Sea, written by Joanne Schwartz and illustrated by Sydney Smith, is the story of a young boy’s normal day in his house by the sea. It weaves the story of his day along with his constant thoughts about his father who works in a coal mine underneath the sea.
The story starts out telling the reader that from his house you can see the sea. It then shows the order of steps to get from the house to the sea, and the town spread out around it. We learn that his father works deep down in a coal mine under the sea.
The story then drifts back into the daily routine of the little boy, from the moment he wakes up and hears the sounds in the world around him, and sees the flowers rustling in the wind. His thoughts then drift towards the sea and how he knows his father is working there digging for coal
He then goes out to play in the playground with his neighbor, and as they are swinging he goes up so high that he can see far out at the sea, and once again his thoughts drift to think about the white tips of the waves, and how his father is hard at work underneath them.
The young boy heads home for lunch that his mother has made him and then she sends him into town on an errand to pick up things from the store. On the way, back he comments on how it is really sunny today, and that the sea is sparkling and once again his father is working underneath it.
In the afternoon, the young boy goes to visit his grandfather’s grave, who was also a miner. He comments that his grandfather used to say to him that he wants to be buried by the sea because he worked long and hard underground. The boy then comments that the sea is calm and quiet today and deep down under that sea his father is hard at work.
His father finally comes home from work at dinner time, and is tired and marked up with dark smudges from the coal. He gives the young boy a big hug and smile. His mother is preparing dinner, and his father goes to take a shower while the young boy listens to the ball game while setting the table. After dinner, the parents go to drink tea on the porch as the young boy comments on the sun setting sinking into the sea. As they are all snuggled together on the porch, he comments again on how deep down under the sea is where his father works.
As the young boy drifts off to sleep he can hear the sound of the waves and thinks about the sea and his father. He thinks about the summer days, and that one day it will be his turn work like his father. He closes the story by saying he is a miner’s son and that in this town that’s the way it goes.