Header Work

Swashby and the Sea

Juana Martinez-Neal

Published Work

Available wherever books are sold

    • Title: Swashby and the Sea
    • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    • Release Date: May 5, 2020
    • Author: Beth Ferry
    • Illustrator: Juana Martinez-Neal
    • Age Level: 4-8, 32 pages
    • ISBN: 978-0-544-70737-5

From New York Times bestselling author Beth Ferry and Caldecott Honor–winner Juana Martinez-Neal comes a sweet-and-salty friendship story perfect for pirate-lovers and fans of The Night Gardener.

Captain Swashby loves the sea, his oldest friend. And he loves his life by the sea just as it is: salty and sandy and serene.

One day, much to Swashby’s chagrin, a young girl and her granny commandeer the empty house next door. All Swashby wants is for his new neighbors to GO AWAY and take their ruckus with them.

When Swashby begins to leave notes in the sand for his noisy neighbors, however, the beach interferes with the messages that are getting across. Could it be that the captain’s oldest friend, the sea, knows what Swashby needs even better than he knows himself?

Worth Mentioning

★ 2024 Illinois Reader’s Choice Award Nominee

★ 2023 Colorado Children’s Book Award Nominee

★ 2022-2023 Arkansas Diamond Primary Award Nominee

★ 2022 North Carolina Children’s Book Award

★ 2021-2022 Kentucky Bluegrass Award Preschool Master List

★ 2021 Wanda Gág Read Aloud Honor Book

★ 2021 Anna Dewdney Read Together Book Award Honor

★ 2021 Kansas NEA Reading Circle Recommended Title

★ 2021-2022 Virginia Reads Picture Books

★ ALSC Notable Children’s Book 2021

★ Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year 2021

★ 2020-2021 Charter Oak Children’s Book Award Fiction Nominee

★ 2020 Society of Illustrators Original Art Selection

★ The Washington Post – Best Children’s Books of 2020

★ Book Riot – Best Children’s Books of 2020

News About Swashby


★ An exceptionally satisfying picture book. —Starred review


★ Martinez-Neal’s art captures the essence of the ocean (…) Adults should prepare for a trip to the beach, as kids will want to go after hearing this. —Starred review

The feeling of place is solidified by Martinez-Neal’s use of color, which breathes the life into this story (…) This sweet story of friendship is sure to win over even the grumpiest of listeners.

Caldecott Honoree Martinez-Neal’s (…) drawings teeter between scenes curmudgeonly and sweet, underscoring the story’s tensions. A strong sense of place emerges from the palette (…)

The Horn Book:

Illustrations home in on facial expressions, Swashby’s intricately detailed facial hair, and the girl’s nonstop activity, while the text features delightful alliteration and seafaring puns. Readers yearning for the beach will appreciate this feel-good story about a curmudgeon who is coaxed out of his shell and into an unlikely friendship.

Joyful and sincere, Swashby and the Sea charts a course straight to the heart.

Book Extras

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