About Sydney

Sydney Smith was born in rural Nova Scotia and has been drawing from a young age. He went to NSCAD University in Halifax, where he took drawing and printmaking. His first book illustration job was with Nimbus, illustrating some new editions of Sheree Fitch’s books, including There Were Monkeys in my Kitchen and Mabel Murple.  He now lives in Toronto with his wife and son, but makes trips back home and sometimes even shows up at library events, like our ReaderFest in Bridgetown this September.

His art has been recognized worldwide, with Sidewalk Flowers winning several awards including the Governor General’s Literary Award, A New York Times Best illustrated book, and selected as an USBBY Outstanding International Book 2016. Download a teacher’s guide for this book here.

His illustrations for the book Town is by the Sea, set in Nova Scotia, was written by another Nova Scotian, Joanne Schwartz. This home-town setting has landed the book on the Nova Scotia 150 Books of Influence list.

His most recent release, Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow (written by Michelle Cuevas), hit the shelves September 2017. Find a review on our Valley Storytime blog.

Sydney Smith proclaims to be a proud Nova Scotian, and Nova Scotia is proud of him, His many books delight all ages and we can only imagine he has many more to come!

Want to see what Sydney is woking on now? Check out his Instagram feed.

Our November contest

Enter to win a copy of Town is by the Sea, illustrated by Sydney Smith and written by Joanne Schwartz.

To win, fill out a ballot at your local Annapolis Valley Regional Library branch


Find our contest post on Facebook.


enter on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #BookClub150.

Lots of ways to enter. Good luck! Contest ends November 30th, 2017. 

Please note that the prize must be picked up at an Annapolis Valley Regional Library Branch.

Reading list

Click on a link below to visit www.valleylibrary.ca.

Sign in with your AVRL library card, place a hold, and have a copy sent to the Valley Library of your choice.


Town is by the Sea

Canada Year by Year

Sidewalk Flowers

Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts

White Cat and the Monk

Music is for Everyone

There Were Monkeys in my Kitchen

Toes in my nose

April - Sandra and Ron Lightburn

Watch the book trailer for Town is by the Sea.

Sydney at Readerfest: a celebration of kid-lit created by Nova Scotians.

What is Book Club 150?

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, we are highlighting a different Canadian author or illustrator for each month of 2017. To celebrate with us, we encourage you to read the books, join our online conversation, and enter our monthly contests. Our featured books include titles for kids, teens, and adult readers. Pick up a copy at your local library, look for a Book Club in a Bag to share, or find a library Book Club near you. We’ll have special events and contests throughout the year, so be sure to visit our library website at www.valleylibrary.ca, or look for feature posts each month on our new library blog site, RenewYourCuriosity.ca.

Featured storytellers

January 2017

Robert Munsch

February 2017

André Alexis

March 2017

Mariko & Jillian Tamaki

April 2017

Ron & Sandra Lightburn

May 2017

Christy Ann Conlin

June 2017

Julie Flett

July 2017

Marie-Louise Gay

August 2017

Jon Klassen

September 2017

Lawrence Hill

October 2017

Jeff Lemire

November 2017

Sydney Smith 

December 2017

Ami McKay