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Ronald Tomanio has penned a new children’s book relating to Abdu’l-Baha called Alvin – The Green Acre Water Boy.
Based on a true story, the book asks its readers the questions: What would you have done if you met Abdu’l-Baha on a hot August afternoon at Green Acre? Would you have offered Him a ladle of cool spring water? What would you have said to Him? What would He have said to you?
Ron graciously agreed to tell us about his book and here’s what he shared with us:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m 74 years old, married for 40 years to a wonderful woman named Karen. We have two daughters and five grandchildren who are all Baha’is. Karen and I live in the shadow of Green Acre a few miles away in Eliot, Maine (USA). I became a Baha’i at Green Acre when I was 17. My early teachers were Stanwood Cobb and Curtis Kelsey. Both men knew Abdu’l-Baha and all they wanted to talk about was Him, which was fine with me. I wrote my first children’s book 27 years ago. It was called Lilly & Peggy for George Ronald. I write mostly books for children, but did co-author With Thine Own: Why Imitate When You Can Investigate Reality? for George Ronald. This is a book I didn’t want to write because it diverted my focus from writing books for children.
Baha’i Blog: How did you get started writing?
Good friends Janet and Chris Ruhe-Shoen returned from their pioneering post in Chile ages ago. She was working on A Love Which Does Not Wait. She encouraged me and that is when I got the writing bug which soon produced Lilly & Peggy.
Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us a little about your book, Alvin: The Green Acre Water Boy, and what inspired you to write it?
My mother was chiropractor who lived next to the entrance to Green Acre ages ago. An elderly man knocked on her door. He apologized explaining that his old car insisted on stopping. He explained that when he was a Green Acre water boy he gave water to someone he described could only be Abdu’l-Baha. Alvin never tired of telling this story. He even made a copy of the ladle he used to draw from a bucket filled from a spring on my mother’s land. I still have the ladle hanging from my wall. This property now belongs to the National Spiritual Assembly. I then had to satisfy myself that his story was genuine which I was able to do. I then had to imagine what life was like for a young boy in 1912. It is a simple but moving story — I hope anyway. I need to mention the book was easy to write and it was written rather quickly. Frankly, I was surprised that George Ronald chose to publish two books of mine at the same time (I’ve also published a book called The Winter Cloak). I need to mention that the line drawings by my good friend Thomas Rines are incredible!
Baha’i Blog: Who is the intended audience of your book?
I believe children and adults will both like this simple story.
Baha’i Blog: What do you hope people will take away long after they’ve finished reading?
We only know a tiny fraction of all the stories about the Central Figures of the Baha’i Faith. History will continue to reveal itself!
Baha’i Blog: Thank you, Ron, for taking the time to share this with us.
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