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Finding Abdu’l-Baha is a picture book for children by wife-and-husband duo Karla and Dan Vallely; Dan wrote the poem that forms the text of the book and Karla created its watercolour illustrations. In this post, we hear from Dan about the book and what inspired its creation:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I migrated to Australia from the UK in 1966. My favourite subjects at school were English Language and Literature. I always loved reading and the written word. My first published work was Possum One the Out Back Rocket Ship which was produced by a publisher in 1981 and became an instant best seller which led to a series of books about animals living in a bush town called Possum Creek.
I met my present wife Karla who introduced me to the Baha’i Faith, which I was instantly attracted to. We live in Mackay North Queensland. Karla founded a not-for-profit charity called Friends of Brilliant Star which assists poor communities who have little or no educational resources to develop schools in the Solomon Islands. The first book we produced was a counting booking book for those children and was not for profit. This is our first Baha’i-inspired book.
Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us a little about Finding Abdu’l-Baha?
We went to Haifa on Pilgrimage in 2018. Whilst there we met a German lady and her little daughter who was about 5 years old. She was so reverent and pious and would pray quietly with her mother at every opportunity. She had a great love for Adbul-Baha and knew some His prayers by heart and whenever we visited a Holy Place or gardens He frequented, she would look around as if expecting to see Him.
Baha’i Blog: Who is its target audience?
This book is very suited to children aged from 3-8 years old, but I feel that the book may appeal to older children as well.
Baha’i Blog: What was something you learned in the process of creating this book?
My earlier books were produced by a publisher, but this book has been self-published, and it is an entirely different process which requires considerable work, investment and dedication to develop the finished product. We found we had to find someone to format our book.
Baha’i Blog: Could you tell us a little about the illustrations?
My wife is experienced in watercolour paintings which we thought was the perfect medium for this book as it allowed the flowers and colours of the Shrines to be detailed. As an early children’s educator, Karla wished to produce paintings that would allow the child to experience the vision of going on Pilgrimage.
Baha’i Blog: Thank you, Dan, for taking the time to tell us about your book!
Finding Abdu’l-Baha can be purchased form a variety of book retailers including Baha’i Books Australia.
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