The Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith is the story of a coal miner’s young son and his family. Every day has a certain rhythm, and the contrast between the boy’s routines and his father’s work below ground in the coal mine is the heart of the story. The family lives by the sea, which glitters with a light on beautiful days. The pages describing the boy's day alternate with darker depictions of below ground tunnels where his father is digging. This is a realistic depiction of life in the 1950's in a miner's family.