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One of my favorite things to do is watch food shows, especially those that travel the world in search of good eats. Have you ever noticed that every country has its own special bread? And a signature dessert? Or a hand-held goodie, wrapped up and portable? Yes? Well, this is the concept behind Susan Hughes’ delightful SAME HERE! THE DIFFERENCES WE SHARE, illustrated by Sophie Casson.

We may be different, but we share the same values. We all need to feel loved, we all need to learn, and we all need to dream. Susan uses these categories to travel the world in search of the specific things that are special to one culture, but are really things we have in common.

Susan, this is a gorgeous book. Where did you get the idea for SAME HERE!?

I first began this project 15 or more years ago (yes, soooo long ago!), so my memory of how it all began is actually a bit vague!

But I do remember researching online for another children’s book project I was working on—and coming across a fascinating brief mention of a specific type of fried dough treat loved by kids in a specific country. (I can’t remember which one!) I hadn’t heard of the food before but it definitely made me think of a doughnut.

On a whim, I began hunting around to find other mentions of “doughnut-like” treats eaten by kids in other countries. There were many! I loved the idea that kids in disparate countries all around the world all shared a love for a similar treat.

I filed the idea away and over time kept coming back to the powerful notion that, although kids around the world are significantly different in various ways, experiencing different geographies, educational opportunities and teachings, economic situations, and so on, there are fundamental things they share, including the need for love, safety, food, and so on. They might share the same basic needs which might be expressed in different ways and yet still share an enjoyment of these fried batter treats!

I decided to try to somehow find a way to write a book to share this idea with young kids!

Did you initially have the idea to separate the book into sections? Or did that come about as you collected various items?

I always knew the book would be split into sections simply because I knew I had a big topic to cover and it would be easier for young readers if it were in “bite-size” chapters.

But initially, I wasn’t sure what would be in each section! It wasn’t until after the book was contracted that, with the editor’s help, we arrived at the idea to divide the book into sections representing the different “needs.”

Do you have a favorite section?

Ah, that’s a tough question! Must I choose?

If so, I’d say my favorite section is the last one: We all need to dream. The other sections describe more straightforward needs: the need to communicate, the need to feel loved and protected, the need to learn, to help our families, to play, and so on. But this one—the need to dream—seems such a beautiful concept and so perfect with which to end this book.

Thank you for sharing SAME HERE! with us, Susan. 

Blog readers, Susan is also sharing a picture book critique or Zoom session with a blog reader. Just leave one comment below about your favorite food specific to your heritage. (And I may ask you for the recipe!)

A random winner will be selected next month. Good luck!

SAME HERE! THE DIFFERENCES WE SHARE is available now from Owlkids.


Susan Hughes is an award-winning writer of many books for children, both fiction and non-fiction, including HOORAY FOR TRUCKS!, WALKING FOR WATER: How One Boy Stood Up for Gender Equality, and Off to Class. Also a freelance writer, editor, and story coach, Susan lives in Toronto, Canada. Find out more about her at www.susanhughes.ca.

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TIME FLIES
"7 ATE 9/PRIVATE I" BOOK #3
illus by Ross MacDonald
Little, Brown
April 26, 2022

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