Tag Archives Baha’i book

A User’s Guide to God Passes By

With a raging war, a frightening pandemic, climate chaos and divided democracies, we need protection against succumbing to anxiety or despair.

One potent preventative–or antidote–is to spend time with God Passes By, which Shoghi Effendi wrote in the perilous days of World War II.

Here is a user’s guide to “the greatest epic of the millennium.”

What is God Passes By?

Published in 1944, the book is the only full-length narrative that Shoghi Effendi wrote, that fact testifying to the importance he saw in its content.

It is a historical survey of the first 100 years of the Baha’i Faith. Its 25 chapters cover the Ministries of the Bab, Baha’u’llah and Abdul-Baha as well as the first 23 years of the Formative Age of the Faith. Continue reading

Infinite Horizons: The Life and Times of Horace Holley – A New Book by Kathryn Hogenson

Although we’ve only spent a few hours in each other’s company, I have a profound respect and love for Kathryn Hogenson. You may know her from her book Lighting the Western Sky or from when she appeared on the Baha’i Blogcast in a special episode dedicated to Abdu’l-Baha (which you can listen to here).

She has penned a new book called Infinite Horizons: The Life and Times of Horace Holley and I’m eager to hear all about it. Here’s what Kathryn graciously shared with us about this book, what she learned in the process of writing it, why biographies of Hands of the Cause are precious, and what reading about Horace Holley’s life can teach us about service to humanity:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, and a Virginian transplanted to Florida. From my earliest years, I was unexplainably religious, so when I heard about the Baha’i Faith for the first time at age 19 at a Seals & Crofts concert in my hometown, Richmond, I immediately responded to it and within less than two months enrolled. That was almost 50 years ago. From that point on, the Faith has become more and more the centre of my life. I am also a lawyer with a lifelong love of history, but even though I have worked in the legal field, most of my career has been spent working for either the Universal House of Justice at the World Centre or for the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States. While in Haifa, I discovered the pleasure of researching Baha’i history and writing what I found as a story. The result was Lighting the Western Sky: The Hearst Pilgrimage and the Establishment of the Baha’i Faith in the West which was published in 2010. It has been a great joy to connect with people from across the globe who have read that book.

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Penned by A. Q. Faizi – A New Compilation of Works by Hand of the Cause Abu’l-Qasim Faizi

George Ronald has recently released a compilation of the books, pamphlets, transcripts and essays written by Hand of the Cause of God Abu’l-Qasim Faizi. The compilation is titled Penned by A. Q. Faizi and it was lovingly put together by his son Naysan and his daughter-in-law Zohreh.

I was honoured when Naysan and Zohreh took the time to tell us about this compilation which gives us “an intimate glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of some spiritual heroes and trailblazers from whom we can learn so much.” Here’s what they shared with us:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourselves?

I was born in Bahrain, where my parents had pioneered some 10 years before my birth. I’ve also lived in Pakistan, India, Israel, England and, finally, Australia since 1987.

I was born in Iran, but at the age of three my parents pioneered to Kuwait where I lived until I was 12. England was my next home where I  completed my studies, got married and had our children. We now live in Sydney, Australia.
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Abdu’l-Baha’s Little Brown Cat – A Children’s Book by Carolyn Sparey Fox

I’ve gotten to know Carolyn Sparey Fox through our interviews for Baha’i Blog. Several years ago, she told us about her book The Half of It Was Never Told and then she shared with us some details regarding her book about the German Templars (Seeking a State of Heaven).

It’s a delight to hear from Carolyn again and this time it’s about a children’s book called Abdu’l-Baha’s Little Brown Cat, written in honor of the centenary of His Passing. Here’s what Carolyn graciously shared with us:

Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us a little about your book?

Abdu’l-Baha’s Little Brown Cat is an illustrated story book for children of all ages, and for adults who like to read to them. It was written in commemoration of the centenary of the passing of Abdu’l-Baha in November 1921, and tells the story of His last years through the eyes and ears of His little brown cat.

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Where the Light Comes In – The Third Book of an Illustrated Trilogy by Alice Williams

Artist Alice Williams recently published Where the Light Comes In, the third instalment in a trilogy of illustrated books filled with her artwork as well as divinely-inspired quotes and meditations from Abdu’l-Baha and others.

Alice graciously agreed to tell us about Where the Light Comes In, as well as about the whole trilogy and the artwork featured — some of which is included below. We hope you enjoy!

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’ve been a Baha’i since 1978. My daughters, Aimee and Jenny, were young children then and I was happy to discover the Faith in time to raise them in it. I’ve held a number of non-art related jobs, but I’ve been a painter and photographic artist since I served in the art department at Maxwell Baha’i School in Canada in the mid ’90s. I try to use my art for service any way I can. I illustrate, edit and sometimes write for a Baha’i-inspired nonprofit, Oceti Wakan, with Cindy Catches, a long-time pioneer on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and a dear friend who taught me the Faith. I assist her in creating curriculum for children and youth for the prevention of addiction and suicide, and to preserve Lakota culture. Along with my family, I also do art projects with Central American refugee children and create art from them for fundraising and awareness. One project is currently on display at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. I’m active in my Baha’i community in Camarillo, California. I’m blessed to be a mother and grandmother as well.

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The Winter Cloak – A Novel for Children About Abdu’l-Baha

The Winter Cloak is a short novel for young readers by Ronald (Ron) Tomanio. It tells the fictional story of an impoverished ten year old named Ahmed who meets Abdu’l-Baha in November 1921, who is given a cloak by Him, and who becomes one of the many who mourn His Passing.

Although a work of fiction, Ron draws on historical texts to bring his story to life and to give young readers a sense of what it would have been like 100 years ago, to lament and grieve the loss of Abdu’l-Baha.

Ron graciously agreed to tell us about his book. Here’s what he shared with the Baha’i Blog team:

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 Eyes: 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.

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Alvin: The Green Acre Water Boy

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.

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When the Moon Set Over Haifa – A New Book About the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha

Angelina Diliberto Allen has penned a new historical book called When the Moon Set Over Haifa. This book shares the stories of six Westerners who were in Haifa at the time of the Passing of Abdu’l-Baha on November 28, 1921. There were five pilgrims: John Bosch and Louise Stapfer Bosch, Dr. Florian Krug and Grace Krug, and Fraulein Johanna Hauff. The only other Western believer present was Curtis Kelsey from New York, who was there to install electrical power plants to light the Shrines of the Bab and Baha’u’llah.

This book tells the story of these six Baha’is and explores how their experiences at the time of the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha shaped their lives. Angelina’s book is such a gift, especially in this special commemorative year when we reflect on the Life of Abdu’l-Baha. You can hear Angelina talk about her book, and many other fascinating topics, in this episode of the Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson but in this interview, we hear specifically about When the Moon Set Over Haifa. Here’s what Angelina graciously shared with us:

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When Reason Sleeps – A Story of Hope, Strength, Courage and Faith

When Reason Sleeps is a biography of Manuchihr Farzaneh-Moayyad, as recounted by his wife Mehri to her dear friend Audrey Mellard. It is a compelling narrative of hope, indomitable spiritual strength, courage and faith. It tells the story of Manuchihr’s unjust arrest, imprisonment and execution because of his beliefs, and Mehri’s subsequent time in prison and harrowing escape out of Iran. Audrey has penned their story beautifully and shares with us about her book in this interview:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I have thought of myself as a writer since I was seven years old, but it has taken me a long time to find what I wanted to write, apart from press releases, slide show scripts and one very brief TV script. Since I am now 85 years old, my future output is not likely to be massive, but there was a man on Orkney whose story I would like to tell.

I have been married for more than sixty years to Keith, and we were friends for ten years before we married, meeting when I was fourteen and he was thirteen, although my parents did not allow me to have a boyfriend until I was sixteen.

We had four children in slightly less than four years, and I spent 18 years at home with them, after which I joined the civil service as a clerical officer. During the time I was at home with the children, I did all the clerical work for my husband’s business, doing all the bookkeeping, dealing with the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise (VAT) etc. It was difficult at times, because as soon as the telephone rang, every child wanted my immediate attention!!

Since my husband had to give up sculpture last year due to arthritis in his hands, I used his stone and marble stores and started to make a garden alongside his studio. This is my ongoing project at the moment.

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Meet Coach Ben – A New Comic Book Series for Kids

Written by Munib Rezaie, an educator and school counselor living in the United States, Meet Coach Ben is the first instalment in a brand new series of children’s books that feature a diverse cast, positive models of masculinity, and practical parenting advice, all rendered in beautiful hand-drawn comic book style illustrations.

I got in touch with Munib to find out more about the book and the initiative as a whole. Here’s what he shared: Continue reading