Thursday, March 3, 2022

Q&A with Sue Fliess



Sue Fliess is the author of the new children's picture book Rumble and Roar: Sound Around the World. Her many other books include Flash and Gleam. She lives in Virginia.


Q: What inspired you to write Rumble and Roar, and how did you choose the sounds to include?


A: After seeing how amazing Flash and Gleam came out (my book about light with Khoa Le), I knew I wanted to try to write another one like it. I talked with my editor Carol Hinz and she suggested sound…and I was off to the races.


As for choosing the sounds to include…this was tricky because there are just so many sounds! I knew I wanted to have the locales in the book be around the world, so I started there. But even figuring out which regions was a task.


After I decided on the locations, it didn’t narrow down the sounds as much as I would have liked. The first few drafts had household sounds, sounds from machinery, as well as natural sounds. Carol recommended I focus on natural sounds. I should have just asked her to begin with! Haha.


Q: The Kirkus Review of the book calls it "A lyrical soundscape that leaves room for observation and makes space for scientific discussion." What do you think of that description?

A: I love it. Sometimes you read a review and say, “Yes! They got it!” This was one of those times. Every page could have a discussion. How does the heart work? What chirps? Where does lava come from? How do elephants communicate?


Q: What do you think Khoa Le's illustrations add to the book?


A: Not only do her illustrations offer such beauty and intricate details, but her illustrations could lead to geographical and cultural conversations.


For example, in the Alps, the cows look different than most cows you see in the United States, and many wear bells around their necks. Why do penguins live where they live? Why does the child in Brazil have a soccer ball on her shirt? Why is the girl in the Alps wearing an embroidered dress?


Q: What do you hope kids take away from the book?


A: I hope they come away with a better understanding of how sound works, how it travels from the source to our ears and brains, and how sound, while everywhere, differs from region to region. The bird sounds you hear in your backyard will be different from those that a child living near a rain forest hears.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am currently working a Halloween book for my Magical Creatures and Crafts series, a fifth book in my Kid Scientist series about volcanoes, and I just finished a manuscript that deals with an underwater adventure, and I really hope it finds a home.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Did you know Rumble and Roar: Sound Around The World is a companion book to Flash and Gleam: Light In Our World? The two together would be great for teaching units on light and sound.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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