News

2017 Snowflake’s Super year with Special announcements!

by Stephanie Henwood on Thu, Apr 06 2017

Following a fruitful new year’s period of school visits, museum collaboration and workshops, Snowflake Books were delighted to announce big changes to their organisational structure. This includes the recent recruitment of Christina Barker and Taylor Brooker who have taken on the responsibility of Snowflakes online presence and design work here in the UK.

“Both newly appointed team members have already proven to be invaluable assets to the organisation” Says beaming Snowflaker and company Business Development Manager, Steph. “sharing fantastic ideas and building great companionship with the rest of the team.”

You can read more about Christina and Taylor’s appointments --... Read more

Our team has grown by two!

by Christina Barker on Thu, Mar 30 2017

We welcome our new team members Christina and Taylor. They have come on board to assist us with our social media, marketing and design so keep an eye on our pages for a flurry of activity in the coming months. 

 

Social media and Marketing Executive

Christina has a background in social media management as well as advanced knowledge of the events industry. She has a keen eye for detail and is a lover of organisation. She will be managing all our social media accounts as well as coming up with a good marketing strategy for the... Read more

Valentine’s day isn’t the only day to honour your loved ones…

by Stephanie Henwood on Tue, Feb 14 2017

Today here in the UK, amongst many others, we celebrate Valentine’s day; February 14th each year marks the day that we honour our lovers and express our affection through gift. Widely presented as flowers, confectionary and greetings cards.

Traditionally, the day symbolises an admiration for early saints such as St Valentinus. It is a recognised and significant celebration across cultures throughout the world but is not a marked public holiday.

China is one of the few countries that do not traditionally celebrate Valentine’s day on February 14th. Instead, we celebrate our romantic attachments on 7th day of the 7th... Read more

Lantern Festival – A celebration of Light… And Love?

by Stephanie Henwood on Tue, Feb 14 2017

 

 

15 days after the first day of the new lunar calendar (Chinese New Year’s Day) greets us with another, widely celebrated festival – The Lantern Festival, or Spring Lantern Festival.

The Lantern Festival is the second most significant celebration in the lunar calendar (after Chinese New Year) and is a celebration of the coming of light. There are other, varying beliefs surrounding Lantern Festival but the one that I like to follow is the belief surrounding the escape from the darkness of Winter –... Read more

Happy Chinese New Year

by Suyen Hu on Wed, Nov 23 2016

New Year Eve in the Year of Jiawu   

A traditional Chinese poem to wish you a very happy Chinese New Year

My hair has become white and untidy;

But still I stay up all night by the fireplace to see the New Year in.

I light the candles and drink up my wine; I empty my purse for the children to buy gifts to celebrate this Spring Festival.

When I hear the firecrackers banging, I feel excited; when I see people posting their poems on each other’s doors, I want to read the poems.

There are sounds of... Read more

Chinese Gongs

by Roy Preece on Sat, Jan 21 2017

The powerful sound of a gong will get the attention of everyone! In the West gongs are used mostly in orchestras and bands, but in China they have been used for thousands of years in ceremonies and official occasions.

Not surprisingly then, the best gongs are made in China, especially in the city of Wuhan where craftsmen have been making gongs by hand for over 2000 years. You can still buy hand-crafted Wuhan gongs today.

The gong and its “spirit” are given great respect, both because the craftsman is believed to have put his spirit into the gong and because... Read more

DRAGON DANCES

by Roy Preece on Tue, Jan 17 2017

Everyone loves to see the fantastic Dancing Dragons that celebrate the Chinese New Year. Why dragons?

To the Chinese, dragons are noble and useful creatures; they are not at all like the evil monsters found in western culture. From earliest times the Chinese have believed that dragons can bring good luck to their lives. As the different kingdoms of China were united they adopted the dragon as a national symbol; and so the ancient Chinese identified themselves as "the descendants of the dragon".

These mythical creatures were believed to control all things to... Read more

Make your own Dancing Dragon

by Suyen Hu on Fri, Jan 06 2017

Step 1. Save and print out the two pictures of the dragon on two A4 sheets.


Step 2. Get your scissors, colouring pen or pencils, two sticks and sellotape ready. 

Step 3. Watch the video.


Step 4. Give it a go now!

Read more

Laba Festival

by Jess O'Shea on Thu, Jan 05 2017

This traditional, pre-Chinese New Year, holiday promotes good fortune for the coming year. 

‘La’ is a Chinese character with the meaning of offering sacrifices to gods and ancestors. ‘Ba’ is the number eight. The festival falls on the eighth day of the 12th lunar month.  This will be 15th January on the lunar calendar but if using the western calendar then it falls on 11th February this year.

The festival was not traditionally celebrated on a particular date until the influence of Buddhism came along - much later during the southern and northern dynasties.  This is when the... Read more

Discover the meaning of Christmas with Dear Su Yen

by Roy Preece on Wed, Dec 14 2016

Su Yen’s Four Christmases.

Christmas is the defining event of European civilisation.  Other nations are fascinated by Christmas, but only up to a point. Between the extremes of worshipping many gods or none at all, Chinese people are likely to miss the true spirit of Christmas. Europeans believed Christmas was a unique event, when the world stood still and the eternal entered into our frenetic time-bound existence.

We have moved on of course. We are not an obviously religious society, but something of that uniqueness still clings to the Christmas festival in a way it does to no other. Time... Read more

Poems for Su Yen

by Roy Preece on Mon, Dec 12 2016

There were several reasons for choosing each poem for Dear Su Yen. Of course, I was looking for a representative range of English poetry to show Su Yen, but there are thousands of poems to choose from. So, as Su Yen and I developed a dialogue, the final choices often were made in response to her questions, ideas and stories: for example, of her discovery of Oxford (Betjeman) or of her lost love (Browning). It all started, however, with Ariel’s Song which I often use... Read more

Happy Holidays

by Jess O'Shea on Thu, Dec 08 2016

 

Happy holidays from all of us here at Snowflake Books we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic western New Year. 

 

In Chinese Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Sheng Dan Kuai Le or 圣诞快乐' in Mandarin and 'Seng Dan Fai Lok or 聖誕快樂' in Cantonese. 

Snowflake Books value the idea of sharing festivals and traditions between cultures and would like to tell you what the season is like in the East.

Although Christmas and the Western New Year is not traditionally celebrated in Eastern culture, as only 1% of Chinese... Read more

Poetry Heals: Scientific discoveries support Dear Su Yen

by Roy Preece on Thu, Dec 08 2016

In her introduction to Dear Su Yen, Su Yen writes “I wanted to show how poetry, like music, can be healing”. She also found that thinking about poetry helped improve her everyday English too. Now the latest scientific techniques of brain scanning lend strong support to these ideas.

An article by Julie Henry in The Daily Telegraph shows how the brain “lights up” much more when reading classical poetry than when reading the same information in modern English (see Dear Su Yen, pages 23-4). A sympathetic little poem by William Shakespeare, from his play The... Read more

Story Plots Part 2: Defeating the Monster

by Roy Preece on Mon, Dec 05 2016

Having spent many years investigating traditional stories and legends, Christopher Booker claimed to have identified seven universal story plots, which reflected perhaps an ancient “shared subconscious” among humankind. Defeating the Monster is the first of the seven universal plots described by Booker: a hero overcomes a “monster” which is threatening the hero’s life or the life of his community.

From classical Greece we have, for example, the well-known story of Theseus, who by bravery and cunning killed the Bull Monster, or Minotaur, and freed his people of Athens from the dreadful obligation of sacrificing seven young men and seven young... Read more

Story Plots Part 1: Missing of the Hero

by Roy Preece on Mon, Dec 05 2016

As well as language and style, when we edit a Chinese story for young English readers, no matter how short and apparently simple the story may be, we have to think about ‘plot’ and how to emphasise the plot in our writing. This may involve some restructuring of the original.

In his book, The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories, Christopher Booker argues there are seven fundamental and universal plots. He was influenced by the ideas of the psychologist Carl Jung and the theory of the ‘collective subconscious’ which suggests that the structures... Read more

The Making of the New Year Beast

by Suyen Hu on Wed, Nov 23 2016

Everyone has heard of Chinese New Year celebrations! They are busy and noisy with drums and firecrackers, and there are red banners, red lanterns and red costumes and paper dragons. Why are these ceremonies always so red and noisy?  There is a popular ancient legend telling us all about the traditional customs around Chinese New Year.

Like Santa Clause for Christmas, there is also a very important character for Chinese New Year. However, there is something different between them. Before Christmas Eve children are so excited and looking forward to seeing what they will get from the kind Grandpa... Read more

Participation in local community brings in confidence and happiness

by Suyen Hu on Mon, Nov 28 2016

This is the second time we have participated in the Christmas craft fairs in our local West Oxford community centre. What we have found the most exciting is the confidence, happiness and sense of achievement that participation in local communities can bring to us.

We have met many different people: artists, authors, linguists, school teachers and of course lovely children, parents and grandparents!

 

In such a small community as West Oxford, it seems as if the whole world has come to us. An artist could recognise immediately that there was a design... Read more

Some corners of Castle Drogo

by Roy Preece on Sat, Nov 26 2016

           Anyone old enough to remember the cult movements of rebellious Westerners seeking wisdom in Eastern religions may recall a book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  Its author was a fanatic about doing things well, especially caring for his powerful American motorbike.  His story has a strange ending, but it wouldn't be right to give that away here. However, the author of Zen expected other people to do things well too.  Many Americans build their own houses of wood.  An American airman described to me how they knock up a frame, cover it with... Read more

On Translation

by Roy Preece on Wed, Nov 23 2016

Culture speaks to Culture

There is always a concern that the original spirit of words may disappear when translated from one language to another. It may be difficult to find the word in one language which exactly expresses the meaning of another. The French use the same word, aimer, to mean both ‘to love’ and ‘to like’; similar ideas, but essentially different in degree. The correct English word must be decided by the context. The French word demander means ‘to ask’; if translated as ‘to demand’ it suggests a forceful and somewhat bad mannered request. In English life, to say... Read more

Dragons are everywhere

by Roy Preece on Wed, Nov 23 2016

THE RED DRAGON AND THE WHITE DRAGON

The night was very dark. I was driving along the motorway with a Chinese friend. We had been sailing all day on the sea and were quite tired, and now we faced a long drive home. As we reached the top of a hill we could see the next hill rising in front of us. Up and down the hill hundreds of lights were moving. ‘Oh! See that,’ said my friend, ‘It looks like two dragons; a red dragon and a white dragon’. 

‘Ah!’ I said,... Read more

It’s OK to be different – Nine Sons of the Dragon

by Jess O'Shea on Fri, Oct 21 2016

The charming tales of The Nine Sons of the Dragon raise some key points on equality.  Each son is so unique yet they resemble a tight family unit made up of strong individuals, each with their own set of talents and skills.

I have perceived, that Dragon King loves and treats his 9 sons equally regardless of their differing looks and talents, as he sent all 9 sons to help Liu Po Wen.  What I feel particularly touching Is that the sons all appear very close too, for example,... Read more

Sharing our culture with new friends is satisfying

by Suyen Hu on Thu, Oct 20 2016

Some days ago, a friend of mine in Canada shared a post online asking about how to help her little one share the ideas of the Buddhist 18 layers of Hell in his class at school. The sharing must be in simple English for Western kids.

One of the comments under the post said: ‘Ask Snowflake to help.’ It is interesting that for some friends, they don’t call me Su Yen, but like to call me Snowflake, or Xuehua in Chinese. I love being called Snowflake actually!

That morning, when I met another Snowflaker, I talked about our Buddhist... Read more

Double Ninth Festival / Seniors Day

by Stephanie Henwood on Mon, Oct 10 2016

Seniors Day Celebrations

Today is the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese calendar (09 October 16) and the day we celebrate Double Ninth Festival... More modernly known as 'Seniors Day'.

We have spent the day enjoying roast pig, eating Chongyang cake for afters and burning incense sticks. But more importantly, we have enjoyed our time spent with our elders.

Today we make that extra special effort for Grandma's and Grandpa's with displays of affection for their significance in our lives.

Snowflake Books have teamed up with... Read more

HAPPY TEACHER'S DAY!

by Stephanie Henwood on Fri, Sep 30 2016

Here at Snowflake Books, we would like to wish a very happy Teacher's Day to our many supporting Schools, teachers, Head teachers and Private Tutors.

What are you doing to celebrate Teacher's Day?

This special day of thanks and appreciation is not just celebrated in China and Taiwan, many countries around the world join us today to pay respects to our teachers, though some countries choose to celebrate on a different date. 

Read more

Mid-Autumn Festival Legends

by Suyen Hu on Wed, Sep 14 2016

We have selected two beautiful legends from the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. Both stories are about beautiful ladies. The first one is a bit sad and is about a lady called Chang E. The second one is a happy story about a princess called Nong Yu. You can find Nong Yu’s story in our book Dragon Tales: Stories of Chinese Dragon. It is called ‘A Good Son in-law’.


The Moon Goodness: Chang E


In very ancient... Read more

Moon Cake Festival 15th September

by Stephanie Henwood on Tue, Sep 06 2016

Moon Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival, or otherwise known as ‘Moon Festival’ is the harvest festival celebrated by Chinese during the 8th Month of the Chinese Calendar.


It is interesting to find that eastern and western calendars differ, for example; According to Chinese lunar calendar, the 8th month is the second month of Autumn.  In the UK Autumn begins in September (the 9th month for westerners).


Moon Festival is generally celebrated on 15th day of the 8th month.  This is because it is calculated to be the middle... Read more

Illustration Time-Lapse

by Jess O'Shea on Wed, Aug 24 2016

Heres a video of our extremely talented snowflake books artist creating an illustrationof out brilliant business development manager Steph

Read more

Hungry Ghost Festival 2016

by Jess O'Shea on Wed, Aug 17 2016

Hungry Ghost Festival 2016

The Hungry Ghost Month (鬼月, Guǐ Yuè) is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist holiday held in Asian countries during the seventh lunar month. This is usually celebrated in August or September, depending on the lunar calendar.

The highlight of the month is the Hungry Ghost Festival, which this year is held on Wednesday 17th August.

Hungry Ghost Origami Boat

In celebration of Ghost Month We've provided you with all... Read more

Chinese Valentines Day / Double Seventh Day

by Stephanie Henwood on Tue, Aug 09 2016

Tuesday, August 9th 2016 marks the date of The Qixi Festival.

This Chinese festival celebrates the annual meeting of the cowherd and weaver girl in Chinese mythology. It falls on the seventh day of the 7th month on the Chinese lunar calendar and is now more commonly known as ‘Chinese Valentines day, or Double Seventh Festival (On double Seventh day).

The festival originated from the tale of The Weaver... Read more

Featured in Primary Time

by Suyen Hu on Thu, Jul 14 2016

Learning Mandarin made fun and memorable with Snowflake Books.

Another great introduction on Snowflake Books from Primary Times 

 

 

 

Read more

Great Introduction of Snowflake Books from Independent Schools Magazine

by Suyen Hu on Wed, Jul 13 2016

Introducing Chinese culture through fair tales and legends

This is a deep coverage on how Snowflake Books can help school children to learn the culture and the language. Find out more about our books and the workshop from the Independent Schools Magazine.

http://independentschoolsmagazine.co.uk/issues/2016-may/may-magazine.html#p=30

Read more

LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE WITH SNOWFLAKE BOOKS

by Suyen Hu on Wed, Jul 13 2016

We enjoy this fantastic review from There and Back Again-A Mother's Tale. We feel so happy and encouraged to read that the stories with beautiful and expressive illustrations are always enjoyed by both children and parents!

http://thereandbackagainamotherstale.com/child-development-and-play/learning-a-new-language-with-snowflake-books/

 

Read more

Snowflake Books Bundle and FREE Workshop to Win

by Suyen Hu on Wed, Jul 13 2016

An amazing chance to win Snowflake Book Bundle and a free workshop with FundED magazine!

Simply click the link or copy and paste the web address and follow the steps to enter the competition. 

Let us see who will be the lucky one!

http://funded.org.uk/magazine/giveaways/

 

Read more

In the Play Room Review

by Suyen Hu on Wed, Jul 13 2016

Thank you for all the kind words from In the Play Room.

"The illustrations are really lovely and colourful, and grabbed my boys interest straight."

"It’s interesting to read these stories with the children, as we all didn’t know about these traditional Chinese legends before reading the books. "

"If you want to learn more about Chinese culture and the Chinese language, then Snowflake books are definitely a great resource to use! "

Read more

The Mandarin Candidate

by Suyen Hu on Wed, Jul 13 2016

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, China was much admired by intellectuals in Europe as an ideal society which followed Confucius’ teachings on respect for authority and the elderly and care for the young and the weak. A society like that would not suffer from the religious wars which had plagued the West and people would live in harmony with peace and contentment. However, after a few thousand years of Confucius’ teaching in China, the nation became stagnant, weak and powerless, as the young boy Thomas Staunton found out as he accompanied his... Read more

Snowflake Books School Workshop

by Suyen Hu on Sun, Apr 24 2016

A Visit From Snowflake Books to Introduce Naughty Monkey 

Snowflake Books make beautiful picture story books that are based on old Chinese legends, specially re-written in English for children. The stories are warm and sympathetic, and aim to introduce traditional Chinese culture to Western children. Our books have attracted many educators and parents looking for new and unique ways to develop children’s cultural awareness. 


All the stories are beautifully illustrated in a range of styles, and include English and Chinese writing to help introduce children to the concept of the Chinese language. Most... Read more

A lovely morning with Ruth

by Suyen Hu on Thu, Feb 18 2016

No sooner had we met Ruth at the coffee shop than she couldn’t wait to tell us that she heard about us from our Chinese New Year interview on BBC Radio Oxford. Unfortunately she was driving in traffic and she only heard the last five minutes, and didn’t get our names at all. She said she was so touched by our ideas of reviving the lost Chinese wisdom and culture of China, but it was very hard... Read more

Top 5 facts about Chinese New Year

by Suyen Hu on Thu, Jan 28 2016

Did you know that Chinese festivals take place according to the lunar calendar?

The New Year starts on the first new moon after the sun enters the constellation of Aquarius. This system helps to keep the lunar calendar in step with the solar calendar. The traditional farmers’ work calendar divides the year into twenty-four fortnightly periods starting from New Year. 

Did you know that the most important meal of the whole year for Chinese people is the family reunion dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve when every member of the family tries to get home... Read more

Learning Through Legends

by Suyen Hu on Thu, Aug 06 2015

Read more