Books·Books of the Year

Sydney Smith and Joanne Schwartz's favourite Canadian book of 2018: The Funeral by Matt James

As the year draws to a close, CBC Books is asking Canadian writers for their favourite titles of 2018.
Award-winning duo Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith recommend reading The Funeral by Matt James. (Groundwood Books/Steve Farmer)

As the year draws to a close, CBC Books is asking Canadian writers for their favourite books of 2018. Children's writer Joanne Schwartz and illustrator Sydney Smith won the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award for their picture book Town is By the SeaSmith also won the U.K.'s Kate Greenaway Medal for his artwork in the book.

Coincidentally, the author-illustrator team chose the same favourite book: The Funeral by Matt James.

Sydney Smith: "My favourite book of 2018 is The Funeral by Matt James. As we have seen from his previous books, his illustrations are sublime and inimitable. I guess it's no surprise that his words will equal in talent."

Joanne Schwartz: "James takes a difficult subject and infuses it with a child's perspective that is original and authentic. The quirky, sideways view of a kid at a serious adult event, trying to find the right emotional tenor, is exceptionally insightful. And, as a consummate illustrator, the gorgeous, energetic, expressionistic illustrations deepen the perspective even further. It's a wonderful book, bursting with life."