Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 18, 2021

Book Giveaway: SOUNDS ALL AROUND: The Science of How Sound Works by Susan Hughes

Susan Hughes has a new picture book SOUNDS ALL AROUND: The Science of How Sound Works, illustrated by Ellen Rooney and published by Kids Can Press. Susan has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States or Canada.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Susan and Ellen.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


A comprehensive exploration of sound for young children that’s friendly, fun and easy to digest. From a cat’s purr to a thunderstorm’s clap, from a friend’s voice to a school bell’s clang, sounds can lull us, entice us or call us to action. But how does sound happen? How do we hear it? What makes some sounds loud and some soft? Some high pitched and some low pitched? How do humans and animals use sound to communicate? Which sounds happen naturally, and which are created for a specific purpose? This charming picture book explores all of these questions in child-friendly language, offering readers a gentle introduction to how sound works that will encourage them to stop and listen.In this highly original book, Susan Hughes uses appealing and inviting text that speaks directly to young children to explain the physics of sound. From describing how sounds are made by the vibrations of air, to identifying and considering the different sources of sound and its properties (pitch, tone, volume), this book is an excellent curriculum-based tool for physical science that strongly supports the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for kindergarten and first grade. Ellen Rooney’s sweet, playful illustrations colorfully illuminate the concepts, incorporating the same character and his dog on every spread. Easy-to-understand decibel and hertz charts are included. There is also a fun activity and a glossary.


Five years ago, I came up with a wonderful concept for a manuscript featuring sounds—and I was so excited! I worked on it for months, revising and tweaking. I was sure I had a winner. The text was concise and peppy. I believed primary kids (2 to 4) would just love it.

I began sending out this story late in 2016. I was, and am, unagented.

I had only sent the manuscript to a few publishers when I got some positive feedback from Kids Can Press. The editor, Jennifer Stokes, was excited about a children’s book on the subject of sound. However, she wondered if I’d consider reworking it for an older audience and had suggestions for taking the manuscript in a slightly different direction.

After playing with some revisions and a little back-and-forth communication, I decided to hold off on this opportunity and resumed submitting the story to a few more publishers with her invitation to come to her later, if I wished.

When a few more months passed, and other editors were identifying challenges with the manuscript, I found myself rereading Jennifer’s notes and becoming hooked on her idea of reframing the subject matter for an older audience.

So I got back in touch with Jennifer and began revising once more. I changed the focus of my text. I read the science curriculum standards for grades K to 3 and directly incorporated many of those pertaining to sound into my manuscript. I reframed the overall structure and narrative. I increased the word count. The text became more technical in content, and gentler and more lyrical in tone.

After a few more revisions and resubmits, in the summer of 2018, I was thrilled to receive a contract offer from Kids Can for Sounds All Around. I had also proposed an accompanying book on light, and Jennifer expressed interest in this possibility.

The editing process of Sounds All Around was wonderful. Working with an editor as experienced and enthusiastic as Jennifer was a delight.

And I was so thrilled when I learned that Ellen Rooney had agreed to illustrate the book. She added so much humor and heart to the book, finding creative visual ways to make the science of sound come alive on the page!


Susan Hughes has always loved writing. When in grade five and six, she and several friends had a writing club. They met every few weeks and read aloud their poems and stories to one another. They always began by pointing out something they liked about each piece of writing; and they always learned a lot from each other’s critiques. She and another friend wrote stories and non-fiction articles and created many issues of their self-published The Horse and Bridle Club magazine. They even sold copies to friends at school and the stable where they took riding lessons!

After finishing a university degree in English at the University of Toronto, Susan was thrilled to work at a children’s publishing company where she had the opportunity to research, fact-check, write, edit, and proofread—seeing books through from the concept stage to the final in-hand product. It was thrilling! She also began to work on her own stories and submit them to editors at traditional publishing companies.

Soon after, Susan began freelancing—and she has never stopped! An editor, story coach, writer and author, Susan works with writers, both novice and experienced, providing critiques and developmental edits, and guiding them in their writing practice. She also works with educational and independent publishers to develop books for children on topics from geography and history to science and Aboriginal studies for a wide range of grade levels. She writes commissioned stories and articles for many clients.

Susan is thrilled to have more than 30 traditionally published children’s books, including picture books, chapter books, MG novels, young adult novels, both fiction and non-fiction for all ages, with publishers such as Scholastic Canada, Kids Can Press, Owl Kids Books, and Annick Press. Her books have received multiple nominations for awards, including the Forest of Reading awards, the TD Children’s Literature Awards, and the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Literature.

She has been delighted to serve as juror for many book awards and volunteer her expertise with CODE and the CNIB.


Twitter: @childbkauthor





Ellen is an illustrator, designer, and artist. She’s from the state of Massachusetts, but now lives in the southern Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Her first picture book as illustrator, Her Fearless Run, was published in April, 2019 and busy working on more!

Ellen loves graphic shapes, textured colour, printmaking, drawing outdoors, painting. Her hidden art powers are released when cutting up paper. As a designer, her superpower is x-ray vision: if she stares at dense information, she can see its lovely skeleton just waiting to be shown to the world. She  thinks this is why she really loves interpretive design (stuff like museum exhibits and nature trails). Or, she says, “Maybe I’m just a big nerd. Who can say?”

“I love what I do. I get to collaborate with nice, interesting people from all over the place to make wonderful things I couldn’t make on my own.”

Ellen was featured on Illustrator Saturday:

To see more of Ellen’s work, you can visit her at:




Susan, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. Love how you tackled introducing children to the sounds around us and explain the physics of sound and what makes thing sound different. Ellen did a wonderful job with the illustrations. Kids will love this book and so will teachers. Good luck with the book! 

Talk tomorrow,



  1. what a great book to teach about sound

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a winner! Congrats to Susan and Ellen. It is no small feat to break down a complex scientific process like sound in a way that kids can understand. And you have made it entertaining as well. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so right, Janet–writing for kids about difficult processes can be challenging but so satisfying, too! Thanks for commenting.


  3. What a cool book, a great way for kids to learn. I’d love to have a copy.
    I’ve tweeted:, and shared on Pinterest:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks, have a happy Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Carl. I hope young readers learn from our book and enjoy it, too!


  4. Congratulations, Susan! “Sounds” like a fabulous book. I follow you daily, Kathy. Great interview. I shared on Twitter:

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the story and how you stayed so true to yourself in this journey. The books are written so well and love the illustrations by Ellen. Amazing that you took Jennifer’s notes and you were able to work them into your story for content and tone. I’m in awe.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great idea for a picture book. Thanks for telling me about it. I follow your blog by email.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Such an intriguing idea for a book–congrats! I’m sure kids of all ages will be thrilled to read it (me, too). Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fun to hear about this book’s journey and the collaboration with the editor. Kudos to all involved and CONGRATULATIONS!! Great blog post, Kathy. I subscribe and shared on Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As someone who enjoys science and other STEM topics in picture books, I can’t wait to read this beautiful book. I’m an email subscriber and shard on social:


  10. This book sounds lovely and I know exactly the children to give it to! They are always inventing their own musical “instruments” from things around the house. Where was this when I taught first grade?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Carmela. I hope your young musical friends enjoy the book!


  11. Love this concept! Can’t wait to read this book. Congrats, Susan and Ellen.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This book looks amazing. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for a great interview.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much, Kristen. I hope you like it!


  13. Susan, Wow, what a cool idea for a book! Thanks for the insights into the process — I am asking my library to order it and can’t wait to read it!
    (I also subscribe to the blog.)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think the concept is brilliant (though perhaps I should save that comment for the companion book about light). Thank you to Susan, Ellen, and Jennifer for making science so present and accessible and for encouraging us all to be more attentive listeners.


  15. Oh, this sounds (heh heh) fascinating! I can’t wait to read it! Congratulations!

    Sharing on Twitter and I follow by email. 🙂


  16. I can’t wait to read this book! It looks top notch! Great work, Susan and Ellen!! I love this concept for a book and can see why it excited you. Thanks for sharing your process as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your enthusiastic comments, Marci!


  17. Sounds like an interesting book! Congratulations!!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. This is adorable and informative!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kathleen! (I’m enjoying reading and critiquing your revision of your lively and fun novel, by the way!) 🙂


  19. congratulations on tackling a tough subject in a kid-centric way that is both engaging and lyrical! Your book sounds fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, S.K. I definitely learned a lot about how the science of sound as I wrote and researched this book!


  20. I just love when something complex is made comprehensible to kids (and adults!) ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  21. This looks like a lovely book, one that adults will learn from too! I’m impressed that as you revised, the text became more technical AND more lyrical. That sounds like a hard combination to pull off. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Janet. I appreciate you reading about the book journey of SOUNDS ALL AROUND!


  22. I shared on FB, Twitter, and pinterest. Thanks. it looks great!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Sounds wonderful! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Liked by 1 person

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