About Snowflake Books
Who are we?
Are you looking for high quality story books for your children to read?
We make beautifully illustrated books with simple and amusing stories that all bright young children will enjoy.
Would you like your children to discover traditional Chinese life and literature easily?
Our stories are drawn from ancient Chinese fairy stories and legends which are enjoyed by Chinese children everywhere. At Snowflake Books we are dedicated to helping children everywhere to discover the human values shared between East and West.
Our books have full texts both in English and Mandarin. Your children will learn many useful Chinese words and expressions. We especially aim for authenticity in our illustrations and stories. Our stories are carefully selected, researched and translated by our international team of artists and writers.
Snowflake Books Ltd is an entirely independent UK registered company. Our staff come from the UK and Taiwan and we believe passionately in the value of international cooperation and understanding.
What do we do and how do we do it?
We make books – of course – but what sort of books? Our books have a number of features we firmly believe you will like:
Wonderful stories from old China
These translate into magical and unusual stories for young children in the UK. As with all traditional tales they are full of wisdom and humanity and valuable lessons for children.
Fascinating colour illustrations on every page that your children will love
Our artists were trained in traditional skills such as water colour and paper-cutting and they have adapted to produce lively modern drawings that are still authentic in their traditional detail.
Our stories are shown both in English and Mandarin
With colour coding for important words and word lists at the back of the books your children will soon pick up some Chinese words.
Selected books have CDs with the full text in English and Chinese, including the word lists. Your children can simply listen to the English versions of the stories, or they can learn to say many Chinese words with the spoken lists.
We produce our books to high traditional standards of binding, paper quality, colour quality and with hard covers. With reasonable care your children could be reading these books to their own children one day!
Why are we so sure you will love our books?
Because we find that when people see our books they do like them – and they buy them! We really enjoy taking our books to fairs and exhibitions where we can talk with parents, grandparents and children who love the quality and colourful pictures. It’s nice to see young children eagerly turning over the pages of the books we have made.
Well, really that’s all you need to know about what we do, but if you would like to discover more then please read on.
May we start by pointing out that, though our books are written both in Chinese and English, our colourful and magical stories can be read or listened to and enjoyed by children just in English OR Chinese with no knowledge of the other language necessary.
Okay! But if you’d like to introduce your children to Chinese culture and language easily, or help them practise reading if they are already learning the second language, then Snowflake Books are there for you.
You probably know there are two ways of writing Chinese. Most used is the so-called ‘Simplified Chinese’ which is commonly known as Mandarin and is taught in British schools. Our stories have Mandarin and English texts side by side with useful words in both languages colour coded.
Chinese pronunciation is made possible by a universal way of writing Chinese using western Roman letters. This system is called Pinyin. We also include Pinyin in our texts.
We make learning Chinese words easy with words lists in Mandarin, Chinese and Pinyin and in many of our books we include CDs with everything spoken by a native Chinese speaker.
We also produce books in the older form of Chinese called Traditional Chinese which is still used in many Chinese communities such as Taiwan.
Traditional and classic Chinese stories
It seems natural in a society influenced by the teachings of Confucius that many traditional Chinese stories are about people (or animals) working together to deal with some challenge or threat. Confucius taught that the natural loyalties of the family should be extended to wider society -- but of course the characters do not always live up to these ideals! Chinese stories are thousands of years old and first appear in surviving ancient books written hundreds of years ago.
Colourful festivals are very popular in traditional Chinese life and these festivals all have their own traditional stories which we have collected for your children to enjoy. Chinese also use many traditional ‘proverbs’ in everyday life and these have their own stories which are often very amusing too.
Traditional stories and festivals were suppressed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1960s but were kept alive in countries such as Taiwan. However, these are now being rediscovered in China as well.
How we make the books?
Our books are produced by a happy and dedicated international team. Our stories are first researched and written by an academic tutor in Taiwan who has published many articles on Chinese legends. They are next translated into English by one of our team there. The translation is then completely rewritten in a simple style for young children and given dramatic structure by our English editor. Then a very important stage comes where the English version is translated back into Chinese, which involves much discussion among our team to ensure that the original meanings can be faithfully and stylistically expressed in both languages as far as possible.
China has always seemed a mysterious and faraway country to most British people, while the Chinese resented exploitation by Britain in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The complicated Chinese way of writing is seen as a barrier to understanding. Then the virtual closure of the country under Communist rule raised further obstacles. However, the British and Chinese governments are seeking ways now to overcome these barriers and promote mutual understanding. We hope that our books will help to make young children feel that Chinese culture and language is not so alien after all and will provide a foundation on which future understanding can build.