New children’s book series teaches kids to enjoy science

By: K. Michelle Moran | C&G Newspapers | Published July 9, 2019

 “What Color Will It Be?” explains how the eye sees color.

“What Color Will It Be?” explains how the eye sees color.

Photo provided by Gary Abud Jr.

 Grosse Pointe Woods resident Gary Abud Jr. has written a children’s book series titled “Science With Scarlett.” “What Color Will It Be?”  is the first book in the series.

Grosse Pointe Woods resident Gary Abud Jr. has written a children’s book series titled “Science With Scarlett.” “What Color Will It Be?” is the first book in the series.

Photo provided by Gary Abud Jr.

 The series is illustrated by Detroit artist Liz Craft.

The series is illustrated by Detroit artist Liz Craft.

Photo provided by Gary Abud Jr.

GROSSE POINTE WOODS/ST. CLAIR SHORES — “What Color Will It Be?”

That is what Scarlett, the main character in the new children’s book series “Science With Scarlett” tries to determine with her teddy bear assistant, Mr. Bear.

“Science With Scarlett” is a new book series written by Grosse Pointe Woods resident Gary Abud Jr. that invites readers to engage in interactive science experiments. “What Color Will It Be?” is the first book in the series and was published in June.

The series is illustrated by Detroit artist Liz Craft and is being published by Covenant Books, based in South Carolina. An official book release event is scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. July 11 at Circare Gift Store at 23024 Greater Mack Ave. in St Clair Shores, and the public is welcome to attend. There will be science experiments on hand, and Scarlett will be in attendance to greet visitors.

Abud’s 5-year-old daughter, Laina Abud, is the inspiration behind the Scarlett character. “What Color Will It Be?” explains how the eye sees color. In the story, Scarlett invites readers to mix colorful lights and ask the question, “What color will it be?” while learning about sight, how shadows are formed and how our eyes can see the world in color. The name Scarlett comes from the color theme of the book. The book series also can be used by educators to teach science.

“Scarlett does experiments with the readers. I hope they learn to enjoy science,” said Abud, a former Grosse Pointe North High School teacher who was named Michigan Department of Education Teacher of the Year in 2014. “It’s interactive and done in an educational way.”

The book series has already received reviews.

“‘Science With Scarlett’ will definitely challenge people (not just kids) on how a shadow is cast and in what color. Most people do not know how shadows are made, much less the color of them,” College for Creative Studies adjunct faculty and illustrator Dave Chow said in a prepared statement. “This was and still is one of those nearly magical/unexplainable scientific processes that most people cannot explain easily. SWS breaks it down simply and eloquently as well as demystifying how light/shadow works.”

Discovering how eyes can see color has always been one of Abud’s favorite science lessons. It stems back to his childhood. In fifth grade, Abud was diagnosed with keratoconus, a disease in which the cornea of the eye deteriorates. A cornea is the clear, dime-sized tissue found at the front of the eye. It functions like a window, allowing light to pass through the eye.

“The cornea gets thinner and becomes cone-shaped instead of round like your eyes,” Abud said. “That distorts the light that comes into your eyes. You see a blurry view of the world.”

To help with his vision, Abud used glasses and special contact lenses. He was able to continue attending school, but by college, he needed a cornea transplant in both eyes.

“My vision just got much worse,” he said. “I couldn’t drive or read textbooks.”

Abud had one cornea done at at time; the first procedure was in 2007 and the second in 2008. After the first procedure, “When they took the patches off my eyes, I could see very, very clearly, almost near-perfect vision right away.”

“The biggest thing for me was a feeling of gratitude,” Abud said. “Thank God I could see. I get to have the gift of sight back. I felt like I get a second chance at things.”

One cornea came from a 17-year-old boy from another state who died. The second cornea was from a man in his 50s who had a family. Abud has never forgotten them. He had decided to donate 15% of his book proceeds to Eversight, an organization that makes sight-saving cornea transplant surgery possible for individuals. Abud is an ambassador for the organization.

Eversight, which has several service areas including one in Ann Arbor, conducts research, seeks eye donors, provides transplants and more. For more information, visit www.eversightvision.org.

After leaving his position at North, Abud and his wife, Janice Abud, started their own educational consulting company, Saga Educators, with the aim of helping children, teenagers and adults in their academic, professional and personal lives.

For more information on “Science With Scarlett,” visit Sci enceWithScarlett.com or follow Science With Scarlett on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.