Author Linda Ahdieh Grant and illustrator Anna Myers have teamed up to create a moving children’s story about courage and the life of Tahirih. Titled I Love My Name and published by Bellwood Press, this book is aimed at elementary school aged children. I was able to hear from both Linda and Anna about their work, this book, and how they hope it will inspire its readers. Here’s a look at our conversation:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about your book?
I Love My Name is the story of an 8 year old girl who one day at school discovers a previously unknown source of courage. This girl’s name is Tahirih and she loves her name very much. One day, she overhears her friends making fun of her name. This saddens her and she turns to her teacher. The teacher, instead of using his own words to cheer her up, shares the story of the heroine after whom she was named.
A youth studying the spiritual empowerment of junior youth in Montero, Bolivia. (Photo: Baha'i Media Bank)
Oftentimes, I find myself reading chronicles from early Baha’is, immersing myself in their stories of complete selflessness, utter sacrifice, and staunch devotion to the Cause of God.
I find myself thinking that my humble undertakings serving the Baha’i Faith pale in comparison to what they endured in a bid to spread the Message of Baha’u’llah.
…ye must in this matter—that is, the serving of humankind—lay down your very lives, and as ye yield yourselves, rejoice.
But what does it mean to lay down our lives? I think that this is one of many metaphorical references found in the Baha’i Writings to giving up one’s life and it makes me ask myself, what does it symbolically look like for me to give up my life to the beliefs I hold dear? And how can I do so rejoicingly?
Afshin Jaberi and I met in the year 2000 during a summer school in Almaty, Kazakhstan. This was where I first heard a beautiful piece that he composed for a drama inspired by The Dawn-Breakers. Back then he was engaged in his post- graduate studies at the Almaty Conservatoire while serving the Baha’i community of Kazakhstan. Born into a Baha’i pioneering family, Afshin Jaberi was deeply affected by the early history of the Baha’i Faith, the hardships of its Founders’ lives, and the heroes who sacrificed everything for the establishment of a new religion. Later in life Afshin found a creative outlet in music to convey his emotion and feelings about those historic events. I reconnected with Afshin to talk about his music and his recent album, Eroica, which is a musical tribute to the Bab.
Alhan Rahimi is the author of Mulla Husayn: The Story of the Declaration of the Bab for Young Children and Ridvan Garden: The Story of the Festival of Ridvan for Young Children and she has also penned and published The Moon Was There: Glimpses of the Bab’s Childhood for Young Children. As a parent of little ones, I am so grateful to Alhan for creating these materials. Here’s what she shared with us about her book about the childhood of the Bab:
Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to write this book?
Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to make the moon your main character?
Not being able to have any illustrations of the Manifestation of God was the main reason for thinking of a some other way to illustrate the story. And why the moon? Well, I think it’s special that the moon, which can be seen from everywhere on this planet, is the same moon that witnessed the Bab’s childhood!
Baha’i Blog: Who is the book’s target audience?
Children under the age of 5. However, anyone can enjoy reading it!
On a hot April day in 1863 on the outskirts of Baghdad, Baha’u’llah entered the Najibiyyih Garden on the banks of the Tigris River. He spent the following twelve days accepting visitors for the last time before His departure to Constantinople. As this place was blessed with His presence, Baha’is now refer to it as the Ridvan (Paradise) Garden and commemorating these special 12 days is known as the Festival of Ridvan. Continue reading
Mine Rich in Gems is an incredible resource for teaching children and junior youth (from the ages of 2-14). Created by a family team made up of wife and husband, Lili and Wei, along with daughters, Kati and Christi, Mine Rich in Gems offers downloadable Baha’i-inspired activity booklets and materials in support of Feasts, Holy Day celebrations, children’s classes, home visits and other occasions. These resources are jam-packed with stories, games, puzzles and coloring sheets.
I got in touch with the team behind Mine Rich in Gems to find out more about how they came together and what they’re working on. Here’s what they shared with me: Continue reading
The Australian Baha’i Community has just released a video commemorating the 40th anniversary of the destruction of the House of The Bab in Iran called Sacred Space: Impressions in Retrospect, 40 Years Since the Destruction of the House of The Bab. In this video, three Australian Baha’is reflect on their pilgrimage to this sacred spot, which was destroyed as part of a widespread campaign orchestrated over many decades aimed at extinguishing the life of the Baha’i community in Iran.
The House of the Bab was identified as a critical historical and holy spot for Baha’is, and the release of this video has come at a time when Baha’is around the world have been celebrating the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, Whose revitalizing message prepared the way for the coming of Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith.
I wanted to find out more about the video, so I caught up with my dear friend Mehrzad Mumtahan, who works with the Australian Baha’i Office of External Affairs and was not only a part of the team behind the video (serving as producer and director), but he was also one of the three people featured in the video who shared their experiences of visiting the House of the Bab before it was destroyed. Here’s what Mehrzad had to say: Continue reading
We recently published 19 Glimpses of the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab Celebrations Around the World! in order to share just a glimpse of the many celebrations happening around the world in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, which are featured on the official bicentenary website from the Baha’i World Centre. Seeing as this is really such a special occasion in the history of the Baha’i Faith, and it’s a once in a lifetime thing, we thought we’d share another 19 glimpses of bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab celebrations happening around the world, which can be found on the official bicentenary website.
Here they are listed in alphabetical order, and if you click on the country or image, it’ll take you to more related images: Continue reading
Over the last two years, Baha’is and their friends around the world have been celebrating two landmark occasions: firstly, the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah in 2017, and now in 2019, the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab. In relation to these two special anniversaries, the Universal House of Justice wrote that “At the heart of these festivities must be a concerted effort to convey a sense of what it means for humanity that these two Luminaries rose successively above the horizon of the world. Of course, this will take different forms in different contexts, extending to a myriad artistic and cultural expressions, including songs, audio-visual presentations, publications and books.”
Over the course of these two special years, we witnessed a wonderful response of artistic expression from around the world. One of the efforts came from singer-songwriter, Luke Slott, who decided early on to honor these two special occasions by releasing two albums: the first is called Year of the Nightingale, to honor Baha’u’llah, and the second and more recent album is called Gate of Heaven, to honor the Bab. Continue reading
It’s been so exciting to see the thousands of celebratory initiatives and activities happening around the world in honor of the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, the Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith!
Many of these initiatives and activities have been featured on bicentenary.baha.org/the-bab/glimpses, a page created by the Baha’i World Centre in honor of this special occasion, so we thought we’d share 19 glimpses of bicentenary celebrations and events from around the world, found on the bicentenary page. Here they are listed in alphabetical order, and if you click on the country or image, it’ll take you to more related images: Continue reading