Book Set Helps Explain the Science Behind the Five Senses

Our Five Senses Image by Courtesy
The “Our Five Senses” set is authored by Noureddine Melikechi and illustrated by Ingrid Hess.

By Brooke Coupal

Walking through a park, you stumble upon a lilac bush. You take in its vibrant purple color, touch its velvety petals and breathe in its fragrant scent. You hear a bee flying nearby before it drinks the flower’s sweet nectar. A smile stretches across your face.

People and animals perceive the world around them through sight, sound, touch, smell and taste, but how do the five senses work? Kennedy College of Sciences Dean Noureddine Melikechi breaks down the science behind the five senses in his new children’s books, “How Do You See the World?” and the “Our Five Senses” set.

Noureddine Melikechi headshot Image by Brooke Coupal
Noureddine Melikechi penned six children’s books on the five senses.

“At a young age, kids are developing their curiosity and trying to understand the world around them,” says Melikechi, an expert in optical physics. “As scientists, it is our responsibility to teach the next generation.”

Through kid-friendly explanations, “How Do You See the World?” delves into how eyes function as well as a variety of eye conditions, including astigmatism, colorblindness and glaucoma.

How Do You See the World Image by Courtesy
“How Do You See the World?” teaches children about how eyes function and different eye conditions.

The book “cultivates an appreciation for the gift of sight and fosters empathy for those who navigate the world with different visual perspectives,” optometrist Erica Meltzer wrote in a review of the book, which came out in May and is targeted toward children ages 7 to 10.

Ingrid Hess headshot Image by Courtesy
Ingrid Hess is an accomplished children’s book writer and illustrator.
"Our Five Senses,” which is set to be released in July, takes children on a journey through the five senses. In five books, each focusing on one sense, the reader tags along with a character named Assia and her dog Dingo as they learn about sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. The books, which are targeted toward children ages 3 to 8, answer questions such as how the brain receives information about the taste of food and how sound travels.

Ingrid Hess, an associate professor in the Department of Art & Design, illustrated “Our Five Senses” using cut paper.

“Kids’ books are a wonderful vehicle for getting all kinds of information to children,” says Hess, an accomplished children’s book writer and illustrator. “I want these books to awaken children’s curiosity in both art and science.”

Melikechi echoed that sentiment.

“With this collaboration between science and art, I hope kids get more curious and dig further,” he says.