Tag Archives Baha’i writer

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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Abdu’l-Baha in New York – A Book by Hussein Ahdieh & Hillary Chapman

The dynamic duo Hussein Ahdieh and Hillary Chapman have re-released their book Abdu’l-Baha in New York in honor of the centenary of the Passing of Abdu’l-Baha.

Hussein Ahdieh has written about this subject for Baha’i Blog, such as his article “The Spirit of the Age: Abdu’l-Baha, Khalil Gibran & Greenwich Village” and “Juliet Thompson: Champion of the Baha’i Faith in New York City“. This book, however, tells us about the time Abdu’l-Baha spent in New York City in order to bring you closer to this unique figure in spiritual history.

Hussein graciously agreed to tell us about this new edition of his book and here’s what he shared with the Baha’i Blog team:

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

The book is about the beloved Master’s visit to New York during His historic visit to America. The Master spent 85 days in New York, He revealed a prayer for New York beseeching God for the friends here to be kind to one another, and He declared New York City to be the City of the Covenant.

We hope that the book will give readers a deeper understanding of the concepts and principles that Abdu’l-Baha emphasized during His visit to New York and also help readers better understand the social context of the people of New York whom Abdu’l-Baha met during His visit.

The book was extensively researched and includes much detail about people and places along with in-depth background about the Lake Mohonk Peace Conference. It is illustrated with original, contemporary photographs of locations associated with the Master.

The book is 141 pages long and has 20 photographs. Hillary Chapman and I wrote it in a way that it would be of interest to someone who is learning about the Faith and wants to know more about the Master’s connection to the City of the Covenant.

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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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Voyage of Love – New Edition Released in Honor of the Centenary of the Passing of Abdu’l-Baha

Amy Renshaw wrote a book several years ago about Abdu’l-Baha’s travels. It’s called Voyage of Love and I still remember its attractive and clever cover and the well told stories it contains. As this year commemorates the centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s passing the US Baha’i Publishing Trust has released a new edition of the book. I was eager to hear from Amy about this new edition and she very graciously agreed to tell us all about it:

Baha’i Blog: To begin, can you tell us a little about yourself?

First of all, thank you so much for reaching out to me. Baha’i Blog is a wonderful resource, and I’m grateful to everyone who makes it happen.

As for me, I’ve always loved books, writing, and learning. I have degrees in English and Sociology, and I work full-time as the Senior Editor at Brilliant Star Magazine and Brilliant Star Online. I’ve been blessed to be part of that team for about 21 years so far.

My free time looks a lot like my work time—I’m usually either reading or writing. I just published my first historical mystery novel, and I hope to write more books. My husband and I live in Wisconsin, where we grew up, and we have two adult children.

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Abdu’l-Baha: The Perfect Exemplar – A New Book by Dariush Lamy

Abdu’l-Baha: The Perfect Exemplar is a new scholarly work by Dariush Lamy. Among its 350 pages, you’ll find an overview of the Life of Abdu’l-Baha. The books also provides us with a glimpse into the profundity and scope of Abdu’l-Baha’s Writings. As this year is a time for profound reflection on Abdu’l-Baha, I’m sure Dariush’s book will be valuable to those who read and study it.

Dariush graciously agreed to tell us about his book and this is what he shared:

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

Of course! I was raised in a Baha’i family and was fortunate from an early age to be in close proximity with the great scholars of the Faith in Iran. I started reading and researching Baha’i literature and published many articles in different Persian Baha’i and non-Baha’i magazines. I have studied architecture and then continued my graduate studies in Islamic studies at UCLA to help with my research in the Baha’i Writings. Continue reading

The Alchemy of Peace: 6 Essential Shifts in Mindsets and Habits to Achieve World Peace

Sovaida Ma’ani Ewing’s latest book called The Alchemy of Peace: 6 Essential Shifts in Mindsets and Habits to Achieve World Peace, offers its readers the gift of hope for the critical crossroads which humanity finds itself. It details ways in which we can change our mindsets and our habits in order to actualize our individual and collective potential: world peace.

Sovaida Ma’ani Ewing writes and lectures in the area of global governance, peace, and international security, and she is the founding director of the Center for Peace and Global Governance, an organization aimed at raising awareness and activating political will and action to tackle global challenges. Her experience and expertise on these subjects have led her to write her fourth book, The Alchemy of Peace, and she graciously agreed to tell us about her book. Here’s what she shared with us:

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

Think of a garden that has become a wasteland overrun by weeds. Although we are excited about reviving the garden and creating a luxurious paradise of varied flowers, our efforts are being thwarted at every turn. No matter how many creative plans we make and how many seeds we plant, our efforts come to naught, because the weeds strangle all new growth. So, too, it is with our world today. Despite our best endeavors to come up with programs and action plans to create a just and peaceful world, the results always fall short or fail entirely. What’s going on is that even our most inspiring programs and plans struggle against certain unconscious filters through which we view and understand the world. These filters, or mindsets, are like the operating system of a computer: they drive us and constrain us and yet are in the background hidden from view. These mindsets in turn spawn certain dysfunctional habits. If we are to successfully build the sort of world we want, marked by peace and justice, we need to identify these mindsets and habits — the weeds overrunning our global garden — and replace them with constructive and empowering ones that will propel us in the direction of our vision. The core idea of this book is showing how to do this at the global level to propel us towards peace. I call this the “Alchemy of Peace Method.” After laying out the method in general, the book uses the method to identify six prevalent and insidious mindsets and habits that need to be rooted out and replaced by new mindsets and habits to meet the needs of humanity, as we approach maturity in our collective development.

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Writing as Worship: Reaching Beyond Ego

I have always wanted to be a writer. But despite writing through childhood and high school, and completing a bachelor’s degree in creative writing with a focus in poetry, until recently I had never wholeheartedly committed myself to my art. The reason was that I was, and sometimes still am, scared. I was scared because I didn’t know what I would do if I fully devoted myself to the reason I think I was put on this planet, and then found out that my writing did not make a meaningful contribution to society. Sound like a cop-out? I’m pretty sure it was. I lacked the courage to pursue writing because I was afraid of failing. Instead, I pursued many other things—some of which I really loved, and a few of which I was actually very good at—but the whole time I was doing those other things I was carrying a silent awareness that if whatever I was doing didn’t work out it didn’t really matter because what I really wanted to do was write. The result, of course, was that I was always second-guessing myself and never entirely fulfilled by what I was doing: always wondering what it would be like to be truly committed to my chosen line of work, but afraid to give up on the certainty of reliable and even enjoyable work for the possibility of embracing my true calling. Continue reading

New Companion to the Study of the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

Dr. Lameh Fananapazir recently authored A Companion to the Study of the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. If you are unfamiliar with The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf (which you can read on the Baha’i reference library here) it is the last tablet of Baha’u’llah and it is addressed to a wealthy cleric who made it his life’s mission to destroy the Baha’i Faith and its followers. Shoghi Effendi translated the work into English and encouraged every Baha’i to study it.

Dr. Fananapazir’s work shares a wealth of sources from other religious texts that will help us to understand the significance of Baha’u’llah’s epistle, which Shoghi Effendi described as a library in of itself.

I am honoured that Dr. Fananapazir agreed to tell us a little bit about the companion he has put together. Here is what he shared with us:

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

I was born during a teaching trip my parents made to Zahedan, a southern eastern province of Iran and spent my youth in Africa, Gambia, Morocco, and Kenya.

I am a graduate of Edinburgh Medical School and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. I trained in cardiovascular diseases and specialized in electrophysiology at Duke Medical Center, following which I was recruited to study causes of sudden death in athletes and patients with familial cardiomyopathies at the National Institutes of Health where I became the chief of the section of inherited heart diseases. I spent two and half years in Haifa, Israel where I was the director of the health services at the Baha’i World Centre and a visiting professor of molecular genetics at Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

I retired recently. Following 9/11, I authored a book Islam at the Crossroads, published by George Ronald. This examines the religious and sectarian hostilities, the many issues that Islam and its sister religions, Judaism and Christianity, increasingly face, and their potential solutions in the light of Baha’u’llah’s teachings.

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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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Ambassador to Humanity – A New Book of Tributes to Abdu’l-Baha

Baha’is around the world are drawing closer to Abdu’l-Baha through their prayers, reflections and actions during this centennial anniversary of His Passing. In honor of this unique year, Robert Weinberg has complied a book of selected testimonials and tributes to Him. Titled Ambassador to Humanity, it is hoped that this paperback George Ronald publication “will serve to increase devotion to Abdu’l-Baha and aid reflection on the qualities to be emulated.”

I’m grateful to Robert Weinberg for taking the time to tell us a little bit about this new book. Here’s what he shared:

Baha’i Blog: Can you please tell us a little bit about this book? For example, whose testimonials and tributes are included?

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