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The Smell of Summer Interview and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Smell of Summer

Author: Mary Ann Hake

Genre: Picture Book

Release date: May 15, 2023

Explore the smells of summer with April, a blind girl, and her menagerie of pets.

Visit the county fair, the seashore, Grandpa’s farm, and the zoo, and camp with April’s family in the woods—each place has its unique fragrances.

“As summer thoughts stir in my mind,

I wonder what new smells I’ll find.”

The back of the book contains activities using the sense of smell.


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Mary Ann Hake, author of the Smells of the Seasons picture book series, has loved learning, reading, and writing for as long as she can remember. She has scribbled stories and poems since she first learned to write and has published hundreds of stories, articles, poems, puzzles, devotions, and more for both children and adults plus written hundreds of book reviews. She loved working in a bookstore and as a librarian and enjoyed reading to children at story times and conducting summer reading programs. She has also taught writing to children and at writers’ conferences. In addition to writing, she continues to work as a freelance editor. Visit her website,, and sign up to receive monthly activities for children and updates on future books.


More from Mary Ann

My mother introduced me to books at a very young age. Mom read to me nearly every day—beginning with picture books then adding longer stories and poetry. I loved books and soon memorized the text of favorites so I could turn the pages and “read” them myself. (My own daughters did the same.) I could hardly wait until I went to school and learned to read so I could devour books on my own. In honor of my mom, The Smell of Summer’s release date is her birthday, May 15. I am her firstborn and her only summer baby. She always encouraged my writing.


My four-book Smells of the Seasons series are told in rhyme because that appeals to children. The Smell of Summer shares summer scenes from the life of April, a blind girl who uses her sense of smell to help her experience her world. The story includes elements that offer a fun companion text for connection to science including the senses, nature settings, animals, flowers, vegetable gardening, and other food. This is the second book in the series with April and her menagerie of pets.


Most people love summertime. This delightful picture book will stir up memories of summer experiences and offer some you may wish to enjoy this year. As the final page says:

I love the many summer smells.

So many stories each one tells.

Interview with Mary

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I’m not sure if you would consider this a pilgrimage, but when my daughters were both in college I went to college too—in my forties. The main reason was to improve my writing. I took all the creative writing and literature classes I could fit in, along with my journalism and mass communication track. I found it quite mentally stimulating. I loved it! I enjoyed learning as well as interacting with a variety of people of various ages and backgrounds, and my studies also took me vicariously around the world and throughout history. I became friends with peers my girls’ ages and felt accepted by most everyone. I could also relate well to instructors since I was closer to their age. I was also challenged mentally and learned to put aside preconceived ideas and investigate the truth and to defend my own beliefs. The entire experience is one I deeply appreciate and look back on fondly. It also helped launch my editing career, thanks to my biology teacher.


What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

One I recommend is a book we read when I homeschooled my daughters: Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I had heard of this classic but had never read it. I think this novel helps readers gain an understanding of the sad tale of slavery and to see each person as an individual who should be respected and free.


What is your favorite childhood book?

One of the novels I have loved since my youth is Little Women. It’s one of the few I’ve reread several times. Of course, as a writer I related to Jo and her dreams of publishing. It also engages the emotions, which any powerful story must do.


If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

I would not have believed the lies that others didn’t like me. Fifty years out of high school, I learned many liked, admired, and appreciated me. I would also have been more proactive in writing and submitting work from teen years on. I had high school English teachers who encouraged me to do so, but I was shy and lacked confidence. Of course, there weren’t computers then and I wasn’t a great typist so that also seemed limiting since I couldn’t manage to produce a clean copy. I would also have pursued learning more about writing earlier. Conferences have been a wonderful place to learn and to network in the publishing world.


What comes first, the plot or characters?

I usually think of a situation, like suppose this happened, and consider a beginning and an end for the story but not a full plot. Then I create the characters who fit the story and think about how they will act and their backgrounds, family, etc. Then I let the tale develop as I write, aiming for the goal I’ve chosen. I also prefer to read novels with well-develop characters that I can relate too, so that may influence my choice to focus more on characters.

Thank you for letting us get to know you better!

Blog Stops

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 2

Sylvan Musings, June 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 6

Lots of Helpers, June 7

Lily’s Book Reviews, June 8

Vicky Sluiter, June 9 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 11

Artistic Nobody, June 12 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, June 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 13

Guild Master, June 14 (Author Interview)

Walking Fruitfully, June 14

Blossoms and Blessings, June 15 (Author Interview)


To celebrate her tour, Mary Ann is giving away the grand prize package of a signed hardcover copy of The Smell of Summer and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.