Featured Book: A Child’s Baha’i ABC

Please come and check out our newly reorganized bookstore at the Baha’i Center of Washtenaw County!

The bookstore at the Bahá’í Center of Washtenaw County features a variety of books of interest to the members of the Bahá’í community. Prayer books and selections from the writings make up the largest section, and you will also find books on Bahá’í history and current topics. In addition, there are books and materials in languages other than English, interfaith materials and Ruhi books for purchase, as well as a small collection of used books.

The children’s section has been moved to another area of the bookstore, with more space so that books can be easily reviewed. They are also now more accessible to children, and hopefully will generate interaction and questions from children in the community. With that in mind, our featured book this month is a children’s book:

A Child’s Baha’i ABC

By Joan A. Featherstone

This book is a typical alphabet book for young readers, but in place of the more typical objects, the author has substituted Baha’i concepts, important figures, and virtues, with an explanation for each. She has also placed a pertinent quotation from the writings on each page facing the individual letter pages. This is an illustrated book that appears simple at first, but the ideas and history presented is complex enough that a child would most probably read it over and over. The quotations add another layer that will make the book rewarding for adults as well. This book would be a welcome addition to any Baha’i child’s library.

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Featured Book: Prophet’s Daughter

Prophet’s Daughter – The Life and Legacy of Bahiyyih Khanum, Outstanding Heroine of the Baha’i Faith

By Janet Khan

As the subtitle states, this book is the biography of Bahiyyih Khanum, the daughter of Baha’u’llah and sister of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. It is also the story of the early days of the Faith, and is told from the perspective of how events both influenced and were influenced by this important Baha’i woman. The book is the first full-length biography of Bahiyyih Khanum, known as the Greatest Holy Leaf. The author’s familiarity with the Faith and its history allows her to draw extensively on Holy Writings and other writings of the time, letters and correspondence from a wide variety of sources including early believers, and general news and world events, to give an in-depth picture of this remarkable figure. Despite a lack of available specifics in many areas, the author is able to present a clear picture of how events transpired, and the role of Bahiyyih Khanum, from earliest childhood through her provision of support and assistance to her father, her brother, and finally her nephew Shoghi Effendi. In addition, the narrative looks at the legacy she created, and how important that was to the Faith in its earlier stages, as well as how it continues to be important today.

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Featured Book: Happy Fasting – A Healthy Approach to the Baha’i Fast

Happy Fasting
A Healthy Approach to the Baha’i Fast

By Saeid Mirafzali, M.D.

This book is a quick read, but is full of useful information and ideas for preparation and observation of the Baha’i 19-Day Fast. It is well-organized and clear, and addresses both the physical and spiritual aspects of the Fast. The information provided is reassuring in the area of health, emphasizing the balance and moderation in the Baha’i approach, and specifying that the physical aspect is secondary to the spiritual.

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Featured book: Diamonds in the Rough by Jenina S. Lepard

This book presents a fictional account of a weekly youth gathering through the eyes of a young Baha’i who has initiated it. He enlists the aid of his parents in arranging the comfort of his guests with refreshments and an inviting space, and two older Baha’i youth who agree to act as facilitators. As the story develops, the young man and his friends explore the stories of several early Baha’is, in the context of an overall discussion of virtues and how to practice them in daily life. Each week, two members who have researched an individual historical Baha’i present the story of that person’s life, and the group decides which virtue that person exemplifies. The early heroes and heroines they learn about are William Sears, Dorothy Baker, Martha Root, Louis Gregory, Fred Mortensen, Florence Mayberry, Músá Banání, May Maxwell, and Rúhú’lláh Varqá. Their presentations include both basic information about their subject, as well as lesser known anecdotes that provide additional interest.

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The Equality of Women and Men: The Experience of the Bahá’í Community of Canada

By Deborah K. van den Hoonaard and Will C. van den Hoonard

This book presents a sociological study undertaken by the Baha’is of Canada to examine implementation of the Baha’i tenet of equality between the sexes. It is a very detailed report that looks closely at a variety of communities and their experiences as they attempt to develop and implement a concept central to the Faith, but often not present in the external society. The authors, a married couple, are both sociologists and appear to have followed a rigorous scientific approach, with adherence to sociological and statistical norms typical in a scholarly examination. With a sample group of 119 Baha’is in twelve focus groups, the authors followed discussions over the course of a year.

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A special presentation: The Story of the Bahá’í Black Men’s Gathering

Please join the Circle of Friends Book Club for a special presentation on the book The Story of the Bahá’í Black Men’s Gathering on Wednesday, July 12th @ 7pm, at the Bahá’í Center of Washtenaw County. Dr. Richard Thomas, one of the book’s co-authors, will lead the discussion. Come and share what promises to be an interesting and enlightening presentation—all are welcome!

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The Pupil of the Eye: African Americans in the World Order of Baha’u’llah

Complied by Bonnie J. Taylor

This book is a compilation of quotations about the role of African Americans in the Baha’i Faith, and includes a forward that explains the title and reference to African Americans as “the pupil of the eye”. The author also states that the writings in the compilation describe “their crucial and indispensable role in the Cause of God”. The book is well-organized and contains a wide range of quotations. The author begins with quotations pertaining directly to African Americans, then moves through race, the oneness of mankind, and unity in diversity. She then organizes writings on solutions to racism and teaching the Faith. This progression lends itself well to sequencing learning and understanding, and the order develops naturally for the reader. Ms. Taylor even has organized sections pertaining to the responsibilities of Baha’is of European descent and Baha’is of African descent in the section on racism, which is helpful reading for all.

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The Spiritual Design of Creation

The Spiritual Design of Creation: Solving the puzzle of human life and destiny
By Hushidar Hugh Motlagh

In its pages, the author presents his case for understanding the creation and process of our world as a spiritual enterprise. He makes his case with successive chapters employing information from a wide variety of fields of study, including branches of science such as biology, chemistry and physics, mathematics, medical specialties including neurology and physiology, and the humanities and social sciences.

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One Reality: The Harmony of Science and Religion

Compiled by Bonnie J. Taylor
Introduction by John S. Hatcher

One Reality is a compilation of sacred Baha’i writings on the topic of the unity of science and religion as expressed in the Baha’i faith. The introduction by John S. Hatcher provides context for exploring the writings that follow in the body of the book. Ms. Taylor has arranged the chapters in an order that emphasizes developmental and logical progression in understanding the concepts presented, and the chapters are also sub-divided at times to emphasize individual ideas. The reader is presented with sequential passages that build understanding of the Baha’i perspective, and open understanding of both the concept of unity and the ways we can understand the world around us. Helpful for both personal deepening and understanding for teaching, this book is a valuable addition to any Baha’i bookshelf.

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Falling Into Grace By Justice St. Rain

Falling Into Grace: The Trials and Triumphs of Becoming a Bahá’í
By Justice St. Rain

This book is directed to those new to the Baha’i Faith. Its focus is on examining the process of becoming a part of the Baha’I Community, and attempting to make that process smoother and easier for the new believer. Written with candor and humor, the author’s perspective makes this book a valuable read whether one is a new Baha’i, a member of long-standing, or someone in between. It contains a wealth of well-organized information, as well as insights for how to approach difficulty whether struggling with an issue oneself, or attempting to assist someone else in the Faith. And it also speaks at length to the blessings of membership in the Faith and the value of approaching difficulties from a positive perspective. Although Justice St. Rain is very clear that the book is written from his individual perspective, and that readers should practice independent investigation of truth, his experience and insight make for thoughtful reflection and increased understanding of a reader’s own personal experiences as a member of the Baha’i Community.

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