Feb 142017
 February 14, 2017  Ayyam-i-Ha No Responses »

Looking for some great Ayyam-i-Ha gifts for your loved ones? Find something for everyone (including homemade gifts and crafts) in our newly updated Ayyám-i-Há Gift Guide, while supporting Bahá’í-inspired and globally minded businesses!

Ayyam-i-Ha Gift Guide 2017 - Alldonemonkey.com

Ayyám-i-Há Gift Guide 2017

And don’t miss these Ayyám-i-Há gifts on Etsy, and these cute printable bookmarks and gift tags!

And of course, don’t miss our Ayyám-i-Há Fun Book, on sale now!

Ayyam-i-Ha: Fun Ideas for Children and Families

Dec 282016

We all want our children to soar, to go on brave adventures to help others and achieve their dreams. From stunning picture books to a magical middle grade novel, here is a collection of wonderful tales that encourage children to do just that: to have courage and embark on their own heroic journeys.

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Tales of Heroic Journeys | Alldonemonkey.com

Tales of Heroic Journeys

Introduce children to a classic Japanese fairy tale with the beautiful The Last Kappa of Old Japan: A Magical Journey of Two Friends. The story begins, as many do, with an unexpected friendship of two children and their subsequent adventures. But while one of the children is a typical boy from the Japanese countryside in the days before the encroachment of the modern world, the other is not human at all. Rather, he is a kappa, a mythical water creature known to be playful – and to love cucumbers! Despite their differences, the boys become close friends; yet, as modernization begins to pollute the nearby waters, the kappa and his family are forced to leave. The boys only come into contact again years later, when the kappa returns to help his old friend – now a man – avoid a tragedy. They are delighted to be together again, but now, thanks to increasing pollution, the kappa is old and weak. A cautionary tale about protecting the environment, and having the courage to help our friends despite the danger to ourselves. (As a side note, the myth of the kappa is actually the origin of our modern story of mutant ninja turtles!)

I love the endearing illustrations of the two boys and the changing landscape of the countryside. And even though I don’t know any Japanese, I love having this bilingual Japanese-English edition because it is such a wonderful way to expose children to another language and way of writing!

Related Post: Global Adventure Books for Kids

Bessie, Queen of the Sky

Image courtesy of Queen Girls

I am so delighted to introduce the soon to be released Bessie, Queen of the Sky from Queen Girls. This remarkable new publishing company speaks to the hearts of so many parents who want inspiring stories for their daughters (and sons!) of remarkable women. The creators have taken stories from real life and turned them into fairy tales that will attract young readers. (Note: the heroines of these stories are queens, not princesses!) The poetic writing and and whimsical illustrations do have that magical quality of fairy tales, drawing the reader into a story about a character – the first African American female pilot – who is both larger than life and infinitely relatable.

I have a personal connection to the story of Bessie Coleman. She was from the same small town in Texas as my grandparents, though she had already left by the time they were born. When I think of how hard it was for my grandfather, a white male, to escape the poverty and depression of a sharecropper’s life there, the story of a young black woman making an even more incredible journey outward and upward is simply astonishing. I am so pleased to see this story given the attention it is due and happy to support the mission of Queen Girls to bring more such stories to light. Visit the Kickstarter page to order Bessie, Queen of the Sky and learn more about this remarkable company! (One copy of the book is donated to at risk girls for every copy that is purchased!)

Related Post: Biographies for Kids about Following Your Dreams

Imagine that the tragedies of history could somehow be redeemed, that not all of the slaves lost in the cataclysmic Atlantic crossings actually died, that not all of the “boat people” supposedly drowned while escaping the chaos of post-war Vietnam were really dead, but that they had somehow slipped through a portal into another world. In the wonderful new middle grade novel A Crack in the Sea readers can imagine a Second World where some of the First World’s victims find refuge and rebuild an ideal society on a string of islands and a man-made floating “Raft World.” Yet always among some there is a yearning to return “home” and a selfish desire to do whatever it takes to get there.

The young protagonists of the story must discover how to stop the plot and save the people of Raft World while at the same time understanding how to make use of their supernatural gifts – or their lack of them. As they journey to find safety for their families, they must contend with the ruthlessness of slavers, disease, pirates, storms, hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. But the real journey is an emotional one, as they all struggle to find their place in this world (or another) and discover the depths of their own courage and what they are willing to fight – and die – for.

For more book recommendations, be sure to visit my Books for Kids board on Pinterest!

Dec 082016

Bullying is a subject on the minds of many parents lately, particularly for those with children of color or of a different faith, orientation, or that simply look or act different than other kids. For generations parents have worried about whether their children will fit in or whether they would make friends, but for many families today, the worries are much more serious and the consequences even more so. It is time for us to come together to create safe havens for our children, where they can just be kids, without fear of harassment. In that spirit, I am honored to share with you these wonderful resources to help children of all ages embrace diversity and choose love and acceptance over judgement.

Resources to Help Kids Embrace Diversity | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclaimer: I received complimentary copies of several of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links; if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Resources to Help Kids Embrace Diversity

A friend recently pointed out to me that so many resources about bullying and acceptance are aimed at school age children, although we need to start teaching respect for diversity at a much younger age. While there are some picture books on the topic available these days, we do need more that speak to younger children in language that they understand. I love Red Or Blue I Like You because it takes real situations that children may encounter and helps deal with misconceptions they may have or that others may have about them. I also appreciate that it deals with stereotypes in a way that is very gentle and not at all s-c-a-r-y. No one is harassed or targeted; there are just a bunch of happy monsters that have some silly ideas about each other, which they overcome through genuine friendship. For example, when Elmo goes to his new friend’s house, he finds out that not all blue monsters eat the same food, while Angela and her family are surprised to learn that not all red monsters watch a certain TV show!

A great book for very young children is Olivia Loves Owl. Although Olivia and Owl have many differences – one has feathers, one has a sweater, one sleeps at night, one sleeps in the day – they are inseparable buddies. Olivia and Owl do everything together, and children will love their special bond. While this book does not talk explicitly about diversity, it does have a message of acceptance of differences, told in a way that very young children can understand easily.

A sweet book for animal lovers is Coco y Coca Tienen Miedo (Spanish Edition). Through the story of Coco and Coca, two Doberman Pinschers, children come to understand the problem of judging someone before you know them. Coco and Coca are loving, friendly dogs, but most of their neighbors gossip about them and hide their pets because they assume that all Doberman Pinschers are aggressive. Yet, as we learn, the truth is that these dogs are often scared themselves, even of the vacuum cleaner! What I most love about this book, though, is that the reader is invited to become the illustrator, as many of the drawings are only partially complete. Great activity to help children pay close attention to the details of the story so that they can illustrate it!

A tiny elephant is the perfect friend – except that no one else seems to think so. A young boy is excited to take his tiny elephant to the Pet Club meeting, only to find out that there are strictly no elephants allowed! But this pair show what friendship and loyalty are all about, as they not only stick together but reach out to others who have been rejected. Soon they start their own club, where strictly everyone is allowed. Very sweet book for any child that has ever felt left out because they are different.

#RespectEachOther Anti-Bullying Resource

I cannot say enough good things about the #RespectEachOther resource packet.  This packet, offered free of charge here, is full of resources for parents and educators on how to prevent and deal with bullying at school. It has practical, easy to follow advice about what to do if your child is being bullied, how to talk to students in the classroom about bullying and diversity, and what to tell your child to do if they are being bullied or see someone else being bullied. These are the on the ground, nitty gritty details about how to handle bullying and harassment – from phrases to use when talking to your child’s school, how to keep from losing your cool, and even how to contact the police and FBI. It includes great visuals for talking to children about different forms of bullying and about how to stand up for yourself and others.

This packet was borne out of love and fear for children today, who face a rising tide of bullying, in particular bullying that targets racial or other minorities. (Read more of the story behind the packet). It is being offered free of charge so that it can be used as widely as possible to create safe communities for all of our children.

How do you teach your children to embrace diversity?

Nov 152016

I was looking for an easy gratitude activity to do with my kids, but as always I had my hands full with the baby, so I knew it had to be something easy but also fun enough to keep their attention. This gratitude game requires no prep, but it is great writing practice and builds critical thinking skills. It helps kids focus on gratitude ahead of Thanksgiving, yet the end results are often hilarious.

Easy Gratitude Game: Writing Activity | Alldonemonkey.com

Easy Gratitude Game

This gratitude game only requires paper and pencil and takes just a few moments.

Each person writes a list of what they are grateful for, without letting anyone else see. For younger children, give a specific number of items they should write (we did 5). For older children, you could time it and see who can write the most number of items in a certain amount of time.

Once everyone has their list, have them try to write down what they think each other person’s list would be. (If possible, don’t tell them ahead of time about this step of the game, as otherwise they may purposely write a list that is difficult to guess). In our case, it was just the two boys, so they tried to guess each other’s lists, but with a larger group you could ask them to guess the list of the person sitting to their right.

When time is up, see how many you got right! We had a lot of fun with this part, as it was so funny to see what each thought the other had written down. It is harder to guess than you might think, even with hints! (My 6 year old’s list: PS4, basmati rice, life, the Earth, chicken).

Younger children can draw their answers if they can’t write yet, but I really recommend this for elementary age children. It was a good exercise for my preschooler to make his list, but it was so random that it was next to impossible for anyone to guess his answers. (“You’re grateful for a chicken bone?” “Yes! And flowers!”)

How do you practice gratitude with your children?

May 302016

Ramadan Lesson Plan for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Ramadan is coming, and in many homes across the world families are busy preparing for this special time. Last year as part of our world cultures curriculum, I put together this Ramadan lesson plan, appropriate for early elementary school children.  (Many of the activities could be simplified for preschoolers).  Because I like to integrate our subject matter as much as possible, it includes science, math, and literature, as well as religion.  Since it was primarily designed for children with no prior knowledge, it includes a very basic introduction to Islam.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Zachariah’s Perfect Day for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Ramadan Lesson Plan for Kids

The Life of Muhammad

We began by talking about the Prophet Muhammad and His life.  For this I used Muhammad by Demi, one of our favorite authors.  It is a beautifully done and very respectful account of the life and significance of Muhammad.  It is a wonderful overview geared towards younger readers.  (You can also play some vocabulary games by picking out words that your students might not know, defining them together, then asking them to either act them out or draw pictures).

I pointed out how the illustrator was careful not to paint pictures of Muhammad, following a hadith, or tradition, that forbids creating images of Muhammad.  We looked at photos of the beautiful mosaics and calligraphy as examples of other types of Islamic art that have grown up over the centuries instead.  We then tried our hand at this Arabic calligraphy lesson for kids.

The Islamic Calendar

We discussed the Muslim calendar and how it is a lunar calendar (that is, based on the position of the moon relative to the Earth), instead of the more familiar solar calendar we use (based on the orbit of the Earth around the sun).  The Muslim calendar has 12 months, just like ours does, but because the Muslim month is based on the phases of the moon, each month is 29-30 days long.  The lunar year, therefore, is shorter than the solar year by just over 10 days, meaning that the Muslim calendar seems to rotate around the solar calendar.  (You can read more about calendars of the world, including the difference between solar and lunar calendars).  So sometimes Ramadan is in the summer but sometimes in the winter, spring, or fall.

This is a pretty abstract concept for kids to grasp, so we did an activity to see how the dates on the solar and lunar calendars compared. We pulled out a calendar and did a “race” between the solar and lunar calendars, with the starting line t January 1.  Then we counted out 29 days for month one and marked it on the calendar, then counted another 29 days for month 2, etc. until we had completed one lunar year.  Now where was the first day of the new year?  How far off was it from the solar new year?  Who had won the race?  Depending on the interest of your students, you could continue the activity for one or two more cycles and see how far off the calendars are after only a few years.

Phases of the Moon

Next we jumped more into the science behind the Islamic calendar by looking more closely at the phases of the moon, since Ramadan begins with the first sighting of the new moon.  (There is a great chart of the phases of the moon in Zachariah’s Perfect Day).  They each made their own chart by cutting out pieces and gluing them on black paper.  We also did this really great visual activity that makes it very clear why the moon looks different throughout the month.  Kids will have fun taking turns at being the Earth!

Books about Ramadan

All of which teaches us about the mechanics of the month of Ramadan, but not about what it is like to celebrate it.  For this we turned to some great books about the experience of children during Ramadan:

Zachariah’s Perfect Day is a wonderful book about a boy’s first time fasting during Ramadan.  I love that it gives a very easy to understand overview about what Ramadan is, woven naturally into the story.  It shows what makes it such a special time and what a typical day during Ramadan looks like for a family.  It even includes the call to prayer and some recipes for Zachariah’s favorite foods (even deep-fried Oreos!)  The excitement and joy of Ramadan really come through, as we experience the fast through Zachariah’s eyes.

A wonderful book for young children is Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors.  Through gorgeous illustrations and simple text, it introduces major symbols and traditions of Ramadan.  It is easy to read and lends itself very easily to craft projects.  You could also have children talk about what are the important colors of their day.


My boys have short attention spans when it comes to crafts, so we did a very simple project of gluing torn paper onto crescent shapes.  (You can find tons of wonderful craft ideas on our Ramadan Pinterest board).

You can also find wonderful traditional recipes for Ramadan to prepare together.  For example, Zachariah’s Perfect Day‘s includes a recipe for parathas from India. You could also keep things simple by bringing in dates for them to try!

One of the most important parts of Ramadan is focusing on spiritual growth through good deeds and charity.  A great activity for this is to make these colorful good deed jars for them to use.  You could also do a simple service project together.  For example, we baked cookies to share with the staff at my older son’s school.

Ramadan is such a joyous time of year.  It is a wonderful way to teach children about Islam and how it is practiced by families around the world and right next door!  If possible, a great final step to this lesson would be to contact a local Muslim community and see what Ramadan celebrations you can visit with your students!


Ramadan for Kids 2016 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting its second annual Ramadan for Kids blog hop, where bloggers come together to share ideas for teaching kids about and honoring Ramadan. Don’t forget to check out our series from last year and follow our Ramadan board on Pinterest for even more ideas and link up your own posts below!

Participating Blogs

ArabBaba on Multicultural Kid Blogs
All Done Monkey
Kid World Citizen
A Crafty Arab
Creative World of Varya
Crafty Moms Share
Global Advocate Jr.
Colours of Us
La Cité des Vents
Words ‘n’ Needles

May 192016

Picture Books about Sharing | Alldonemonkey.com

Ah, sharing!  One of the major concepts a young child has to learn, and something that (let’s admit it!) even adults sometimes struggle with.  Here are some great picture books about sharing to help your little ones understand this fundamental idea and why it is so important.  For even more ideas, check out these ideas to teach kids about generosity.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Feathers for Peacock from Wisdom Tales Press; however, all opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Picture Books about Sharing

Feathers for Peacock is another wonderful tale from one of our favorite authors, Jacqueline Jules. Ever wonder why peacocks have such gorgeous feathers? In this beautiful story, the peacock gains his feathers because of the kindness of the other birds. Back in those days, when the world was still new, birds did not have feathers, until the moon took pity on them. But Peacock did not hear the news and so missed getting his feathers! When the other birds see his plight, they all pitch in to help give Peacock feathers of his own. While this is an original story, it has the style and simple truths of a classic folktale.

My preschooler never tires of reading Feast for 10, a counting tale for young readers about a family preparing for a special dinner. My son loves mapping this family onto our own, pointing out the mom, the dad, and the baby, and deciding which of the boys is him and which is his older brother. Great book to show a loving family working together to make a meal everyone can enjoy.

You can’t go wrong with an Elephant and Piggie book, so I was so happy to see that there was one on sharing. In Should I Share My Ice Cream?, Gerald is about to enjoy a nice cold ice cream cone on a hot day, when he suddenly thinks of his friend and wonders if Piggie would want to share the ice cream with him. He goes through all the classic stages of sharing angst, including rationalization, guilt, and the secret thrill of enjoying a treat in secret. In the end, however, his love for his friend wins out – but he has taken so long to make up his mind that his ice cream has melted! It is only then that he realizes the power of friendship, as Piggie comes to save the day.

Mine! Mine! Mine! is a really cute book about a girl who is (kinda, sorta) trying to learn about sharing. Little Gale really does not want to share with her cousin Claire, but with her mom’s gentle direction, she begins to start her journey to becoming a “sharing superstar.” This book is quite funny, though I wonder if the littlest readers will get the joke as Gale keeps missing the mark about sharing with her cousin. Older kids, though, will find it hilarious. And there are several things that this book does really well that are often missed in picture books about sharing: 1) the mom leads by example and gives Gale practical tips, such as, you share your nice things, not your broken toys (oops, Gale!) and 2) it recognizes that learning to share is a process, and little ones won’t get there overnight, and that’s okay.

George doesn’t want anyone to come into his cardboard box “house.” Each time another child tries, he turns them away, saying this house isn’t for them – not for kids with glasses, or twins, or small kids, etc. It isn’t until he himself is excluded from the house (I love the illustration of him hurrying to his apartment for a much needed bathroom break!) that George realizes that the toy house is for everyone. Aside from the message about sharing, This is Our House is also a sweet picture of diverse urban kids playing together.  The book makes a point of not making a point about the diversity of the kids, however.  For example, when a South Asian girl tries to tunnel into the house, George says that the house isn’t for kids who like tunnels.  Fun book about a situation that kids can relate to from their own playground or neighborhood!

A really fun read aloud book about sharing is One of Each. It has a wonderful bouncy rhyming text reminiscent of Karma Wilson (one of our faves!) Olliver Tolliver has a perfectly ordered home with “just one, only one, simply one, one of each” – from cups to cupboards to fruits. It is all so perfect that he wants someone to admire it; yet when he invites a new friend over to enjoy it with him, he discovers that he has nothing to share with her. Olliver Tolliver discovers that what his perfect home was missing was friends, and that it is also lovely to have enough to share. Great book for introducing the concept of hospitality and the joys of sharing. As an introvert, though, I was perhaps overly sensitive to the message it might be sending that it’s not okay to be alone and enjoy your own company. Still, a fun book about how being with others can also be fun.

Another favorite in our house is The Doorbell Rang. Ma has made cookies, but as more and more friends drop by, each child has fewer and fewer cookies to eat. (Great math practice, too, as kids can figure out how many cookies each child gets each time more friends arrive!) The children are all happy to share, until they each has only one cookie and the doorbell rings again! When the children look at their one cookie each and still decide to answer the door, their generosity is rewarded with a sweet surprise. (Pat Hutchins has another great book about sharing called It’s My Birthday!, all about a little monster learning to share on his special day).

How do you teach yours kids about sharing?

Apr 142016
 April 14, 2016  Ridvan 1 Response »

Ridvan Coloring Pages for Adults | Alldonemonkey.com

Adult coloring pages are all the rage, so I thought it would be fun to create some Ridvan coloring pages for adults!  Adult coloring pages are meant to be a relaxing, meditative exercise, so I focused on doing abstract decorations for related words and brief quotations.

You can find even more resources for families to celebrate Ridvan in this series from a few years ago, and be sure to stop by Creative World of Varya for some children’s coloring pages for Ridvan.

Ridvan Coloring Pages for Adults

Download your copies here:

Ridvan Coloring Page

“Rejoice with exceeding gladness…” Coloring Page

Full quotation: “Rejoice with exceeding gladness, O people of Bahá, as ye call to remembrance the Day of supreme felicity, the Day whereon the Tongue of the Ancient of Days hath spoken, as He departed from His House, proceeding to the Spot from which He shed upon the whole of creation the splendors of His name, the All-Merciful. God is Our witness. Were We to reveal the hidden secrets of that Day, all they that dwell on earth and in the heavens would swoon away and die, except such as will be preserved by God, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.” -Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

“The Divine Springtime is come…” Coloring Page

Full quotation: “The Divine Springtime is come, O Most Exalted Pen, for the Festival of the All-Merciful is fast approaching. Bestir thyself, and magnify, before the entire creation, the name of God, and celebrate His praise, in such wise that all created things may be regenerated and made new. Speak, and hold not thy 28 peace. The day star of blissfulness shineth above the horizon of Our name, the Blissful, inasmuch as the kingdom of the name of God hath been adorned with the ornament of the name of thy Lord, the Creator of the heavens. Arise before the nations of the earth, and arm thyself with the power of this Most Great Name, and be not of those who tarry.” -Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

Mar 312016

Contentment Picture Books | Alldonemonkey.com

One of the values we try to encourage in our children is contentment: that is, learning to accept – and even embrace – the things they cannot change.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Princess Rosie’s Rainbows and Saint Anthony the Great from Wisdom Tales Press for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Picture Books about Contentment

I love the beautifully illustrated new book Princess Rosie’s Rainbows.  Princess Rosie can have anything she wants, but the only thing that makes her smile are rainbows.  So the King and Queen begin a search throughout the lands for someone who can give the princess forever rainbows, so she will always be happy.  She receives rainbows of all kinds, but they are not real and so do not satisfy her.  She even learns to make one of her own, but it disappears when a rain cloud passes by.  It is an old wise woman who finally teaches Rosie the secret of looking in her own heart for forever rainbows – and happiness.  Beautiful tale to teach children an important lesson.

We’ve also been enjoying the classic The Missing Piece. In this fable, a circle sets off to find its missing piece, but what it discovers is that joy comes from the journey, and perhaps it doesn’t really want that piece after all!

A square has perfectly equal sides and is perfectly happy but through a series of adventures discovers that happiness can come from trying new things. Perfect Square is a great book with wonderful visuals about how shapes (and people!) can transform into new and even better things!

Another great book for kids learning their shapes is The Greedy Triangle (Scholastic Bookshelf). A triangle is not satisfied with having just three angles, so he visits a shape shifter to add another. After a time as a quadrilateral, he doesn’t another angle would be even better, until he eventually adds to many angles he becomes unrecognizable and can no longer play with his old friends. Great story about being satisfied with what you have.

Saint Anthony the Great is a gorgeous new book about contentment from a Christian perspective.  Anthony of Egypt felt unhappy, so he followed the Biblical teaching to give up worldly possessions and find joy in quietness and stillness.  The father of Christian monasticism, Saint Anthony taught others to love each other and live a life of peace, courage, and joy.  His story still resonates today and is brought to life through this simply told tale and beautiful paintings.  Includes an appendix with more information about his life and further reading.

Mar 242016
 March 24, 2016  Baha'i 5 Responses »

12 Inspiring Women from Baha'i History | Alldonemonkey.com

This year for Women’s History Month, I’d like to share the stories of some of the women from Baha’i history that have inspired me.  They are community leaders, adventurers, educators, Civil Rights advocates, journalists, and a 16 year old martyr.  Also, don’t miss Ten Baha’i Women Every Person Should Know – it’s a fabulous article, and I’ve made sure not to duplicate her list, so read hers if you don’t want to miss anybody!

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of books from the Crowned Heart series; however, all opinions are my own.

Bahiyyih Khánum (1846 – 1932)

Bahiyyih Khanum, Akka, 1895

Bahiyyih Khánum, Akka, 1895

The daughter of the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahiyyih Khánum’s life story is intimately tied to the early history of the religion itself.  She was a young child when her Father was first thrown into prison and she endured with her family their subsequent exiles.  Her active participation and contributions to the development of the young religious community were unusual in a time and place where most women were deprived of education and cut off from public life.  During a period of crisis in 1921, it was she who took the helm of the international Bahá’í community, making her unique in religious history.  A wonderful book about her life and times is Prophet’s Daughter by Janet Khan.

Phoebe Hearst (1842 – 1919)

Phoebe Apperson Hearst

Phoebe Apperson Hearst, circa 1919

Living in California, of course, I have to mention Phoebe Hearst.  And yes, I do mean that Phoebe Hearst: American philanthropist, feminist, suffragist, and mother to media tycoon William Randolph Hearst.  One of my son’s little friends attends an elementary school named after her!  Phoebe Hearst was a major supporter of education, serving as the first Regent of the University of California, Berkeley and founding the museum that is today known as the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology.  She also contributed to the establishment of the National Congress of Mothers, which later evolved into the National Parent-Teacher Association.  Among Bahá’ís she is best known as an early supporter of the Bahá’í Faith in the US and the organizer of the first group of Bahá’ís from the West to travel to the East on pilgrimage to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Head of the Bahá’í Faith, then living under house arrest in Palestine. (Sources: Hearst Castle, The Journey West)

Louisa Mathews Gregory (1866 – 1956)

Louis and Louisa Gregory

Louis and Louisa Gregory, first interracial marriage among the Bahá’ís in the US

Louisa (Louise) Mathews was an white English Bahá’í who ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, then the Head of the Bahá’í community, encouraged to marry Louis Gregory, a prominent African American Bahá’í.  The two had met several years earlier in Egypt.  They married in 1912 in a quiet ceremony, becoming the first interracial couple among the Bahá’ís at a time when marriage between blacks and whites was still illegal in many parts of the US.  Their married life was difficult, as it was hard for them even to find a place to live together.  Louis’s work among the Bahá’ís often took him to the Deep South, where it was dangerous – indeed, impossible – for her to accompany him.  The two were forced to spend long periods apart, often causing rumors that their marriage was failing.  But the opposite was true.  Their marriage thrived for nearly forty years until Louis’s death in 1951.  Louis remarked that throughout their marriage they had “one spirit, one purpose…” Little has been written about Louisa, but you can find more about her in this biography of her husband.  (Sources: The Journey West, A Forbidden Marriage, Bahá’í Encyclopedia Project)

Martha Root (1872 – 1939)

Martha Root

Martha Root, source Wikipedia

From childhood, Martha Root was not like other girls.  She was not interested in cooking, knitting, or sewing – she preferred her books.  After a brief career in education she jumped into her life-long vocation as a journalist.  She became a Bahá’í in 1909, but it was after meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in 1912 during his trip to the US that her life was truly transformed.  In 1915 she set off on what was to become the first of many around the world trips to promote the Bahá’í Faith.  After the passing of her father in 1922, she traveled continuously.  Throughout her life she met with world leaders in far flung countries (including Queen Marie of Romania, who became the first monarch to embrace the Bahá’í Faith) and introduced them to the principles of the young religion, often becoming the first Bahá’í to set foot in that land.  She visited every continent and taught the Bahá’í Faith wherever she went – writing newspaper articles, meeting with political leaders, and speaking at universities, women’s groups, peace congresses, and on the radio – all of this when she was already middle aged and in ill health because of a protracted battle with breast cancer.  Histories of Bahá’í communities around the world begin with “Martha Root first visited in…”  You can read more about her remarkable life in this biography. (Sources: Bahá’í Library, second article from Bahá’í Library, Bahá’í Blog)

Dorothy Baker (1898-1954)

Dorothy Baker

Dorothy Baker

Granddaughter of a prominent early Bahá’í in the US, Dorothy Baker was in her early life at times lukewarm in her commitment to the religion.  It was only after a health scare in 1929 that she dedicated her life to serving in the Bahá’í administration and spreading its teachings.  For 14 years she was a member of the national governing body of the Bahá’ís in the US, including several years as its first female Chair.  She served on nine national committees and visited countries throughout the Americas and Europe, where she was known as a powerful speaker.  In 1951 she was named a Hand of the Cause (as was Martha Root, above), one of the most distinguished offices in the religion.  You can read more about her in this biography.  (Source Bahá’í Blog)

Clara Dunn (1869 – 1960)

Clara Dunn

Clara Dunn

Born in England, Clara Dunn migrated to the US in 1902 after suffering the deaths of both her husband and a young son.  Shortly after, she accepted the Bahá’í teachings and then in 1916 married Hyde Dunn, who was to become her companion throughout a lifetime of teaching the Bahá’í Faith first in California and later in Australia.  Clara and Hyde were the first Bahá’ís in Australia, where they lived in a number of different cities and welcomed interested people into their home for informal meetings that lasted late into the night.  Due to her role in nurturing the young Bahá’í community, she became known as Mother Dunn.  Late in life, in 1952, she also was appointed a Hand of the Cause.  (Source: Bahá’í Encyclopedia Project, Crowned Hearts series)

Crowned Heart series - Clara Dunn

In my research about all of the remarkable women in this article, I have relied on online articles or biographies for adults.  Yet for Clara Dunn I was pleased to find this beautiful children’s biography, part of the Crowned Hearts series of books for children about several prominent Baha’i women.  Through simple text and gorgeous watercolor paintings, it conveys the essence of her story to young readers.  With so few such books available, it is truly a treasure and highly recommended as a way to introduce children to the lives of these amazing women.

Corinne True (1861 – 1961)

Corinne Knight True

Corinne Knight True

Another Hand of the Cause was Corinne True, best known in Baha’i history as the “Mother” of the first Bahá’í temple in the West, located outside of Chicago.  As a young mother, the loss of five of her eight children sent her on a spiritual journey which eventually led to her acceptance of the Bahá’í Faith. Tasked by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá with the building of the temple at a time when the Bahá’í community in the US was still very young, Corinne organized meetings, gathered funds, and found the spot where the temple could be built.  Because of intervening world wars and economic depression, “Mother True” was an elderly woman when the temple was finally completed but will forever be associated with this historic building. (Sources: The Journey West, Bahá’í Library, Crowned Hearts series)

Crowned Hearts series - Corinne True

Another installment in the Crowned Hearts series is this wonderful children’s biography of True.  It tells of the sorrows and triumphs of her life in language that children can easily understand.  Its message and beautiful artwork speak to the heart and help children learn more about this beloved figure.

Lidia Zamenhof (1904 – 1942)

Lidia Zamenhof

Lidia Zamenhof

The daughter of Esperanto founder Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof, Lidia Zamenhof played a significant role in the promotion of the language and advocating a universal outlook at a time of increasing nationalism.  Born in Poland, Zamenhof was one of the first European Bahá’ís from a Jewish background.  She was also a well-known translator of Esperanto.  In her last years she returned to Poland to teach Esperanto and the Bahá’í Faith.  She was arrested by the Nazis because of her Jewish heritage and forced into the Warsaw Ghetto, where she is remembered for her efforts to obtain food and medicine for others.  She later perished in the Treblinka camp in 1942.  Her memory was honored at the US Jewish Holocaust Museum in 1995, which remembered the efforts of the Esperantists to help rescue Jews from persecution during World War II.  (Sources: Baha’i Library)

Amatu’l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khánum (1910 – 2000)

Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khánum

Amatu’l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khánum

Mary Maxwell, later known as Amatu’l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khánum, was born into a prominent Canadian Bahá’í family.  Her mother, May Bolles Maxwell, was a star teacher of the religion, and her father, William Sutherland Maxwell, was a distinguished architect and later Hand of the Cause.  Ruhiyyih Khánum was the wife of Shoghi Effendi, who was the great-grandson of Bahá’u’lláh and head of the international Bahá’í community after the passing of his grandfather ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.  Ruhiyyih Khánum was Shoghi Effendi’s “shield,” his “helpmate,” and his “tireless collaborator.”  In her role as Hand of the Cause, she was critical in guiding the Bahá’í community after Shoghi Effendi’s death.  In 1964 she began what was to become decades of global travel to meet with dignitaries and encourage the growing Bahá’í communities on every continent, traveling to over 185 countries and territories.  She served as the representative of the Bahá’í community in public gatherings and meetings with international leaders, yet she was equally at home in remote villages and hamlets, meeting with and inspiring people from all walks of life.  (Sources: Bahá’í Blog, Baha’i.org)

Sarah Pereira (d. 1995)

Granddaughter of slaves, Sarah Martin Pereira was a distinguished professor of languages and well-known teacher in the Bahá’í Faith.  Her parents, prominent African Americans in Cleveland, Ohio, were introduced to the Bahá’í Faith by Louis Gregory, husband of Louisa Gregory above.  Her father was a well-known lawyer and her mother second woman and first African American to serve on the Cleveland Board of Education.  A portrait of her mother Mary Martin appears in the excellent book Lights of the Spirit.  Pereira served on the national administrative body of the Bahá’ís of the US for many years and later was appointed as one of four Continental Counselors – a high administrative office – for the Bahá’ís of North America.  She was known for her commitment to scholarship and support of education.  In her later years she lived in North Carolina, and we were lucky enough to live close by.  We frequently gave her rides to local Bahá’í events, and one time as part of a fundraiser my sister and I helped her organize papers in her office.  I remember her as soft-spoken but to the point and always dignified with a gentle sense of humor.  (Source: Lights of the Spirit)

Magdalene Carney (1929 – 1991)

Magdalene Carney

Magdalene Carney

Magdalene Carney first heard of the Bahá’í Faith from Sarah Pereira (above).  She was a writer, Civil Rights advocate, and educator.  Also the granddaughter of slaves, she was committed to receiving the education they had been denied.  In 1969, she organized and led the peaceful desegregation of the public school system in Canton, Mississippi.  After becoming a Bahá’í, she served it tirelessly, including as a member of the national administrative body of the US and later as part of the International Teaching Centre in Israel.  The Magdalene Carney Bahá’í Institute in Florida was named in her honor and carries on her educational work.  (Source: Bahaikipedia)

Mona Mahmudnizhad (1965 – 1983)

Mona Mahmudnizhad

Mona Mahmudnizhad

A high school student, Mona Mahmudnizhad became known worldwide after her shocking execution at the age of 16 by the Iranian government for the crime of teaching Bahá’í children’s classes.  Members of the Bahá’í Faith have regularly faced persecution in Iran, the land of its birth, since its inception in 1844, but this persecution intensified in 1979 with the Islamic revolution.  From early on, Mona was known as an outstanding student who had genuine love for those around her.  In 1982 Mona and her father were among 40 Bahá’ís arrested in the city of Shiraz, as part of escalating arrests throughout the country.  In June 1983 Mona was hanged along with nine other Bahá’í women, ranging in ages from early 20’s to 54.  Her father had been executed earlier that year. I was just a child when Mona was killed, but I remember the electric effect it had on the Bahá’ís in our community, with many openly weeping when they heard the news.  Mona is remembered today as a model for Bahá’í youth everywhere because of her love, enthusiasm and dedication. According to one report, the government in Iran still fears the martyr they created more than 30 years ago.  The Bahá’ís continue to face persecution in Iran, including arrests, closing of businesses, denial of higher education, and desecration of cemeteries. (Sources: Bahaikipedia, Iran Press Watch, Bahá’í Chronicles)

Women's History Month Series on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Join us for our second annual Women’s History Month series, celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world. Follow along all month plus link up your own posts below! Don’t miss our series from last year, and find even more posts on our Women’s History board on Pinterest:

Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs’s board Women’s History on Pinterest.

March 1
A Crafty Arab on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 7 Women Artists Who Changed History
March 3
The Art Curator for Kids: Songs We Can See – The Art of Peggy Lipschutz
March 4
Kid World Citizen: Children’s Books about Women Scientists
March 7
Mama Smiles: Picture Books about Great Women in History Your Kids Need to Know
March 8
Hispanic Mama: 4 Latina Women Who Made It Happen
March 9
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Spanish Children’s Book on the Life of Felisa Rincón de Gautier, First Female Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Colours of Us: 28 Multicultural Picture Books about Inspiring Women & Girls 
March 10
Witty Hoots: Some Awesome Women in My Life
March 11
MommyMaestra: Women in World History Trading Card Template
March 14
Crafty Moms Share: The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Real Princesses
March 15
The Jenny Evolution: Non-Fiction Books about Women for Kids
March 16
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Celebrating Latina Authors
March 17
Living Ideas: Education Heroes of Indonesia
March 18
La Cité des Vents: Julie Victoire Daubie, First French Woman to Have the Baccalauréat
March 21
A Crafty Arab: 8 Remarkable Arab Women Artists
March 22
La Cité des Vents: Alexandra David-Néel
March 23
Peakle Pie: Grace Darling, a Heroine Who Changed the World
March 24
All Done Monkey
March 25
The Art Curator for Kids on Multicultural Kid Blogs
March 28
Creative World of Varya
March 29
Family in Finland
March 30
The Jenny Evolution
March 31
For The Love of Spanish

Mar 082016

Children's Books about Death | Alldonemonkey.com

One of the most difficult tasks a parent has to face is talking to their children about death.  Whatever your beliefs, this is not an easy conversation to have, as it is hard for children to understand abstract concepts, no matter how beautiful, when faced with the very concrete loss of a loved one.  Here are two children’s books about death that have helped me talk to my own kids about this difficult subject.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Children’s Books About Death

The New King

In The New King young Prince Rakoto learns that his father has died and one by one commands the royal courtiers to revive him.  When they are unable to meet his demand, the grieving child turns to a wise old woman, who comforts him with a Malagasy folktale.  From this the prince learns that the first humans chose to live their lives like the banana plant, which sends out new shoots so that it would live on through them even after it dies, just as people live on through their children.  Author Doreen Rappaport (who also wrote Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) draws on this beautiful metaphor to create a powerful book that will resonate with children emotionally.

Mema Says Goodbye

A friend introduced me to Mema Says Goodbye, and I’m so glad she did.  It is a wonderful, gentle book about death in terms that young children can understand.  Mema is dying from cancer and so is forced to explain to them why she is leaving and where she will go.  This book is from a Bahá’í perspective but uses terminology and metaphors anyone can relate to.  My favorite is the idea of God as a gardener moving a sick plant to another spot in the divine garden where it can thrive.  The book strikes just the right tone of acknowledging grief while at the same time rising above it to focus on the joy of death and the idea that spiritual relationships outlast the death of the physical body.  It was helpful not just for my kids but for me too when my grandmother passed away recently.

For more ideas on talking to children about death and life after death you can read this guest post from my friend Varya.

How do you approach the subject of death with young children?

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