Englisi Farsi is a wonderful resource for parents who wish to teach their children Persian (Farsi), the language of Iran, even if they can’t read or write the language themselves. Using the familiar phonetics of the English alphabet, the learning aid includes a series of lively e-books with an interactive audio and pronunciation guide, giving anyone who reads and speaks English a entryway to the rich and lyrical language that is Farsi. Created by Mona Kiani, Englisi Farsi includes colorful books for young children about animals, virtues, fruits and vegetables. They also have a Baha’i prayer book as well! Mona shared with us how she created these books and about the process of putting together the prayer book. Here’s our conversation:
Baha’i Blog: Hi Mona! Could you please tell us a little about yourself and Englisi Farsi?
I am an English-speaking Australian of Iranian descent with a Singaporean spouse of mixed ethnicity. We are currently speaking Persian and Mandarin to our son. While I could converse fluently in Farsi, I was not fully acquainted with the Persian written word. That is, untiI I started this journey!
I knew in my heart that I wanted my son to know Farsi. My language defines who I am and, in turn, who he is or will be. I wanted my son to have a good start. But I couldn’t find any resource that didn’t require me to master the Persian alphabet. After a period of futile searching, I decided to develop my own teaching tools in Pinglish/Finglish (Farsi in English) for my son — and my husband as well as the English-speaking wives of my Persian brothers.
Pictured above is the Brilliant Star team and key contributors at their 2013 Annual Meeting. From left to right is Annie Reneau, Susan Engle, Lisa Blecker, C. Aaron Kreader, Amethel Parel-Sewell, Amy Renshaw, Donna Price, and Foad Ghorbani.
In the Baha’i Faith we know that “Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess, for in them are the promise and guarantee of the future”, so there’s no doubt that coming up with creative and meaningful ways to support our children is important, and that’s why I couldn’t wait to do a post about Brilliant Star!
Brilliant Star is an award-winning Baha’i-inspired children’s magazine and website aimed at children of all faiths, and invites them to explore concepts based on principles central to the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, like encouraging their development as world citizens, their appreciation for cultural and racial diversity, peace among all religions and nations, the equality of women and men, and the elimination of prejudices.
The magazine really had a profound effect on me when I was a child, and I remember how I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it whenever a new issue came out. Now, some 45 years on (yep, Brilliant Star first started in 1969 as Child’s Way and then became Brilliant Star in 1983), Brilliant Star continues to publish six times per year with subscribers in over 40 countries, coming from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and faiths.
I decided to touch base with Brilliant Star’s Editor and Creative Director Amethel Parel-Sewell, to find out more about this wonderful resource: Continue reading