Tag Archives Baha’i book

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

Light & Mercy – A New Compilation on Mental Health and Tests & Difficulties

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia has just released a new publication called Light & Mercy.

Light & Mercy is a compilation of extracts about mental health and tests and difficulties from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha, and letters of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice.

In its 25 November 2020 message to the Baha’is of the world, the Universal House of Justice wrote that:

…the friends everywhere have sought with characteristic creativity and determination to minister to the needs of an ailing world.

The physical and mental impact of the continuing pandemic is evident around us, and the members of the Baha’i community are not immune. The National Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia wrote that it hopes this publication will be of assistance and support to the friends both individually and collectively, and trusts it will be a source of wisdom and comfort for Baha’is and those whom we come into contact with. Continue reading

Trilogy of Consecration: The Courier, the Historian and the Missionary – A New Book by Boris Handal

Author, Boris Handal, whom you may recognize from his previous books, Mirza Mihdi: The Purest Branch, and Varqa and Ruhu’llah: 101 Stories of Bravery on the Move, has just authored a new historical book called Trilogy of Consecration: The Courier, the Historian and the Missionary.

This book presents the lives of three personages closely related to the early years of the Baha’i Faith in Persia: Shaykh Salman, Nabil-i-A’zam and Mulla Sadiq.

Curious to find out more, here’s what Boris shared with us about his new book: Continue reading

The Art of Empowering Others – A Biography of Knight of Baha’u’llah Gayle Woolson

I have been thinking recently about what it genuinely means to empower others and George Ronald has released a biography of someone who did just that: Knight of Baha’u’llah, Gayle Woolson. Her life’s story was penned by Juliet Gentzkow, who very graciously agreed to tell us about her book called The Art of Empowering Others: The Life and Times of Gayle Woolson Knight of Baha’u’llah, and to give us a glimpse of who Gayle Woolson was. Here’s what she shared with me:

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

By profession as a teacher of children, counsellor, and hospice worker, I have served in the United States, Guyana, and Haiti. I now live in Palo Alto California, near my son and his family. Limited to home by the pandemic, I continue a part-time counseling practice, Creative Transitions, and dedicate time to family, community building, biographical writing, and research.

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

‘The Art of Empowering Others’, a biography of Gayle Woolson (1913-2011), now joins the George Ronald series on the Knights of Baha’u’llah. Gayle was one of nine children born in Minnesota to parents of Syrian origin. In 1930, her father introduced his family to news of a new Faith, brought to his attention by a Syrian friend in St. Paul. Mr. Abas told his children of teachings for a new, spiritual worldwide civilization based on humanity’s oneness. He said the youth had an important part to play in its development. By 1933, Gayle was teaching a children’s class, which became a stepping stone to public speaking. She then participated in her Local Spiritual Assembly’s initial development and became one of the very first youth traveling teachers in the United States, accompanying Ms. Marguerite Reimer (Sears) and Mrs. Mabel Ives. Following a marriage tragically cut short by her husband’s unexpected death, she arose to serve internationally. In 1940, she and another Baha’i became the first to go to Costa Rica, beginning 29 years of service throughout Central and South America. She witnessed the emergence of Baha’i communities and institutions throughout the continent, becoming a Knight of Baha’u’llah for the Galapagos Islands and serving successively on four elected National Spiritual Assemblies and as part of the initial cohort of appointed Auxiliary Board Members for the Americas. As much at home in a Quechua village as in a president’s palace, her heart burned with love for all who crossed her path. She had a simple eloquence that was yet refined. She saw in each person a unique potential destiny needed in the building of a new civilization. In 1975, following five years of service at the Baha’i World Centre, Gayle returned to the United States, where, for 20 years, she taught and also developed her Children’s Public Speaking Program.

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Fragrance of Glory – An Illustrated Account of the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha

As this is a special year marking the centenary of the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha — a year in which the Universal House of Justice asks us all to reflect profoundly on the Life of Abdu’l-Baha — Baha’i author Michael V. Day has just published a photographic book about the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha titled Fragrance of Glory.

Michael V. Day is a dear friend and we currently live in the same city in Australia and I must say that I am personally delighted by his contributions to the world of Baha’i literature. He is the author of a trilogy of historical books about the Shrine of the Bab, which you can learn more about from his website: www.michaelvday.com. So when Michael told me about this new book in honor of the centenary of the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha, I had to find out more. Here’s what he shared: Continue reading