Category Archives Books

“Virtues Seeds”: Children’s Activity Books by Elaheh Bos

This is the second in the "Virtues Seeds" activity book series by Elaheh Bos

This is the second in the "Virtues Seeds" activity book series by Elaheh Bos

The wonderfully talented Elaheh Bos has recently released three virtues activity books. The series is called Virtues Seeds and each book is geared towards a different age: the first book is for littles ones aged three to six; the second, seven to 11; and the third book is for those 12 and older. These work books provide a variety of activities, games, stories, dialogue prompts, exercises and, for those who are younger, colouring sheets to help children learn about qualities such as honesty, forgiveness, helpfulness, trust and unity and how to manifest these attributes in their daily lives.

Elaheh kindly agreed to be interviewed and to share with us a bit about her new books.

Baha’i Blog: Thank you, Elaheh! To start, could you please share a little bit about yourself.  Continue reading

“The Covenant and You”: John Kolstoe’s New Book

The Covenant and You

John Kolstoe is an American pioneer and writer whose name is found on the spines of many Baha’i Books. He has authored Consultation: A Universal Lamp of Guidance, Healing and Beyond: Exploring the Long Healing Prayer, Crazy Lovers of Baha’u’llah: Inspirational Stories of Little Giants, Pondering the Fire Tablet, Compassionate Woman: The Life and Legacy of Patrician Locke – to name a few! The Covenant and You is his recent George Ronald Publication.

I think the essence of this book, which is the application of the Covenant and how it can be an active part of our lives, is best explained by Billy Roberts in his foreword:

True acts of kindness once completed are seldom mentioned again. But here I choose to make mention and celebrate acts of consequence made quietly over many years by John Kolstoe, which inform his capacity to invite us to draw nearer to the Covenant. Inspired by service, his view of the Covenant allows the topic to take flight from a mere recitation of ideals to a pattern leading to a life filled with joy and purpose. Kolstoe infuses into the language of this book, the spirit of love, fidelity, and longing held within his heart.

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Stories of Baha’u’llah

A view of the Shrine of Baha'u'llah in Bahji, Israel. (Photo: courtesy of Chad Mauger)

A view of the Shrine of Baha'u'llah in Bahji, Israel. (Photo: courtesy of Chad Mauger)

In honour of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, I have been reflecting on my personal connection to Him. Shoghi Effendi described Baha’u’llah with these towering words:

preeminent in holiness, awesome in the majesty of His strength and power, unapproachable in the transcendent brightness of His glory.

There are many ways to connect the heart with Baha’u’llah and to begin to understand Shoghi Effendi’s words. For example, you can read and reflect on Baha’u’llah’s Writings, study the events of His life, or cherish stories about Him.  Continue reading

Healing Hasan’s Heart: A Novel for Junior Youth

Healing Hasan's Heart

You may be familiar with John Hatcher’s work. He is a seasoned and prolific writer with many Baha’i publications to his name. They range from books of poetry — both works of poetry penned by himself or about the poetry of Tahirih — to philosophical and theological treatises like From Sin to Salvation: The Ascent of the Soul, The Purpose of Physical Reality, and One Reality: The Harmony of Science and Religion. He has also written for junior youth, such as Ali’s Dream: The Story of Baha’u’llah, and its recently published sequel Healing Hasan’s Heart.

I was happy when John agreed to tell us about his new novel for junior youth, the ideas behind it, and his profession as a writer of Baha’i books.

Baha’i Blog: Thanks, John, for speaking to us! For those who may not know you, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work as a writer.  Continue reading

An Introduction to The Seven Valleys

The Seven Valleys

Shoghi Effendi tells us that The Seven Valleys is Baha’u’llah’s greatest mystical work, “which He wrote in answer to the questions of Shaykh Muhyi’d-Din, the Qadi [judge] of Khaniqayn, in which He describes the seven stages which the soul of the seeker must needs traverse ere it can attain the object of its existence.” A testament to the power of Baha’u’llah’s revealed words are their profound impact and effect – even if you are reading His words in a translated language and have no knowledge of its historical or literary context. However, I thought I would write a bit about the historical and literary context of The Seven Valleys  so that I could better understand what makes it Baha’u’llah’s greatest mystical work.  Continue reading

Light of the Kingdom: A Book by JoAnn Borovicka

Light of the Kingdom

I love books and have a particular soft-spot for Baha’i books. I was doubly happy when I heard that a friend, JoAnn Borovicka, has published a new book called Light of the Kingdom: Biblical Topics in the Baha’i Writings. I was joyful that a new Baha’i book was made available to the world, and proud of her accomplishment. To write a book is no small feat and this one is the culmination of many years of work.

JoAnn lovingly agreed to share behind-the-scenes details about her beautiful new book.

Baha’i Blog: Thank you, JoAnn! I’m very excited to hear more about Light of the Kingdom. To start, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work as a writer?

I’m an educator; my passion is making information accessible by delivering it in digestible portions. At the time of the origin of this project I was working as a master trainer for Global Learning Partners, Inc. where I specialized in workshop design and facilitation. I was also a storyteller performer with the South Carolina Artist in Residence program—I wrote my own material based on stories of the ancient Near East. Both of these interests served me in the making of Light of the Kingdom, which strives to systematically present certain Baha’i teachings through the organizational framework of the Bible.

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The Half of it Was Never Told – A New Book by Carolyn Sparey Fox

The Half of it Was Never Told

Carolyn Sparey Fox is the author of The Half of it Was Never Told, a riveting new publication. The book is set in the 19th century, when many were filled with excitement and expectation that the prophecies in the Bible and the Quran would be fulfilled. Carolyn’s book charts the stories of three men who never met, William Miller, Joseph Wolff and Mulla Husayn, who were all dedicated and devoted to their quest of finding the Promised One. Only one of them found what he was looking for.

Carolyn’s book is a George Ronald publication and it recently hit the shelves. She graciously agreed to tell us a little bit about herself and the process behind the book.

 

Baha’i Blog: Thank you, Carolyn, for your willingness to talk about your book, The Half of it Was Never Told. To begin, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well actually, I’m a professional musician, and in a way I suppose that’s another story!! Briefly, after I studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and toured for two months across the USA and Canada, I worked in London, where I was in the first London production of Jesus Christ Superstar, recorded music for films and backing for pop music, and performed with many of the orchestras, which included loads of touring, including Australia, USA, Europe, and interestingly enough, many countries which were still behind the Iron Curtain at that time. Then I moved to Scotland, where I was principal viola with both the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra – but not at the same time, I hasten to add!  That’s the tip of the iceberg as far as my musical career is concerned, but I suppose it gives a flavour.

Vahid: A New Baha’i-inspired Creative Journal

Vahid - Issue 1 450x581

Baha’i inspired literary journals are rare but the creative people behind the fantastic website Nineteenmonths have recently launched Vahid.

Vahid showcases fiction, photography, poetry, creative non-fiction, and other visual pieces: it is both beautiful to look at and wondrous to read. Two issues have already been published (available in print or electronically through Amazon) and a third issue is currently accepting submissions.

I was thrilled when Caitlin Castelaz, the founding editor of Vahid and the writing editor for the website, agreed to tell us about this exciting new publication. Continue reading

The Woman Who Read Too Much: A Book About the Life of Tahirih

Woman Who Read Too Much 400x622

I have long admired the writing style of Bahiyyih Nakhjavani. Her prose is so masterful that I often read a passage or two and then put the book down, the same way you would put down your fork in order to relish a morsel of truly flavourful food. Bahiyyih Nakhjavani is the internationally bestselling author of The Saddlebag – A Fable for Doubters and Seekers, Paper – The Dreams of a Scribe, Four on an Island, When We Grow Up, Response, Asking Questions: A Challenge to Fundamentalism, and most recently, The Woman Who Read Too Much: A Novel which is a work of creative nonfiction about the life of Tahirih

In these early days of the Faith where we explore what it means to be a Baha’i artist, Bahiyyih has inspired me with a vision of literary excellence and I am truly honoured to ask her about her recent publication.

Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! To begin, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, your work as a writer, and about your latest book ‘The Woman Who Read Too Much’? 

I’m a member of an ancient tribe, a venerable race whom some now say is bordering on extinction. There are still many of us around, although like other anthropological groups whose belief system runs counter to that of the majority, we tend to be invisible. High finance ignores us. Politics barely knows of our existence anymore, although at one time it was afraid of us. We are scattered across the five continents and come from different backgrounds, different cultures and generations, but we all share one common faith, one universal cause. We call ourselves Readers.  Continue reading

9 Great Books for Mothers

9 Great Books for Mothers

There are more parenting books out there than anyone can possibly read in a single life time. They cover everything from sleep training methods, to speciality gourmet puréed recipes, to yoga for little ones. Since I am an incorrigible bookworm, one of the first things I did when I became a mother was to poll other Baha’i mothers about what books really helped them. The following includes many of their suggestions, as well as a few others I’ve stumbled upon along the way: Continue reading