How young people discover other cultures …
We believe passionately in the value of young people learning about new cultures and languages other than their own. This will break down the barriers of suspicion and alienation.
Snowflake’s Meeting of Minds events use a variety of media to facilitate cross-cultural understanding between children (and adults too!) in a variety of organisations.
We have really enjoyed our experiences so far in putting on these successful voluntary events, which up till now we have financed ourselves. Now we are looking for £5000 to enable us to continue with this exciting and worthwhile endeavour for Year of Dog 2018.
We have an exciting programme of events for Chinese New Year agreed with 12 partner organisations, including the Ashmolean Museum Oxford, The Story Museum Oxford, The Oxfordshire Museum Woodstock and Southwark Libraries London, and many schools for 30+ workshops.
Will you help by supporting MoM?
The need for the people of the world to know and respect each other
Richard Cobden*, a British statesman and peace campaigner, once said “Peace will come to earth when people have more to do with each other and governments less.”
There is a desperate need for the ordinary people of the world to know and respect each other.
It’s really exciting to discover how many values and human sympathies are shared in common between our various world cultures. Children discover these naturally through our stories and events.
* Cobden campaigned against the “unrighteous” actions by the British which started the Second Opium War with China and was a passionate supporter of the anti-slavery cause in the American Civil war.
Traditional stories and festivals are expressions of the soul of a people and represent deep shared human values.
We encourage young children from East and West to explore each other’s cultures. We have no political or religious interests. We aim rather to go below these ideological barriers to discover the deep common wisdom and humanity of traditional culture everywhere.
Traditional Chinese society was famous for its concern to live an earthly life in harmony with others and the regulation of life according to the seasons and natural systems.
What we do
So far we have introduced over 1,000 young children to the colourful traditional stories and festivals of Old China which, despite cultural upheavals, have been preserved in the present day life of many eastern countries and places including Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and others.
We are particularly seeking to extend our work to schools in disadvantaged areas where schools and parents do not have funds for workshops and after school clubs.
It is so rewarding to see how the stories of Chinese characters and animals naturally evoke the sympathies of children in Britain.
We use a variety of methods: specially written and colourful books for children in Mandarin and English; interactive story readings; videos made by school-children in Taiwan; original games – including traditional Dragon Dancing, with gong and drums! -- special worksheets; simple spoken and written language practice; and board games, and face-painting of mythical animals. Children meet the mythical Jade Emperor and can even wear his splendid head-dress.
Children love to take something away with them too and we give them customary seasonal presents specially for the festivals, such as lucky Red Envelopes, herbal sachets to ward off illness, and the paper cut-outs of animal characters from the stories that we use in our games.
Children speak to children across the world. We make personalised videos in Taiwan and England where the children at each event directly ask and answer questions about their lives and language.
Why we are inviting you to support our events
The founder and director, Su Yen and the entire production team in the UK and Taiwan give their time freely and voluntarily, but we do have to pay our professional staff. Then there are travel expenses, insurance and subsistence – the more distant venues can take up most of the day.
Each event costs approximately £365. Costs include consumable materials, such as books, traditional gifts, board games (children do persuade us to let them take their favourite characters home!) craft sets for making Dancing Dragons and Chinese Lanterns, personalised work-sheets, and purchase of traditional items from China – like our popular dancing dragon, gong and drums!
For some school events we have produced videos linking children in Taiwanese and English schools in interactive question and answer sessions about their lives. These are hugely popular with the children. The videos and animated stories cost an extra £1000 per event, but we really hope to make more of these in the future.
We have built up experience with successful events in schools, museums, scout groups and care homes. These activities have been very favourably received and reviewed. We provide single events for Chinese festivals, or a series of events for after school clubs. Many schools would like to provide this sort of extra-curricular diversity learning, but have very limited resources at present.
While we make no charge for our events some of the venue holders such as museums do benefit from entrance charges and increased visitor numbers, participation and sales. We are happy to support our museums in this way.
We provide our professional time freely on a voluntary basis and have started planning for our 2018 Chinese New Year workshops in libraries, museums and schools in London and Oxfordshire. This includes event and travel time and also considerable preparation time. So far, 50% of the running expenses have been covered by our friends, partner organisations and supporters in Taiwan and England, and by Snowflake Books. But we need to find other resources so that we can continue and extend our events.
An invitation to join in our Meeting of Minds
By pledging £1000 you would be sponsoring 3 invaluable after-school clubs or workshops at a school, library or museum in Oxforshire or London. These events have proved to be immensely educational, fun and inspiring experiences for young people, not only for getting to know a new culture and language, but also to foster curiosity, creativity and friendship - values that Snowflake Books aims to foster in as many people as possible! Do come along and join in one of our events and journey of cultural discovery! And in any case we'll send you one of our magical box-sets of 12 beautifully illustrated zodiac animal books, plus a personalised picture of your own animal year signed by the artist (see the sample picture above), and with an acknowledgment of your gift inscribed on the mount.
By pledging £300 you will receive an original 16in. x 8in. hand drawing of the 12 animal zodiacs in a handsome frame and signed by the artist (see the sample picture above), and with an acknowledgment of your gift inscribed on the mount.
By pledging £200 you will receive a whole box of 12 of our unique beautifully illustrated Chinese animal zodiac story books (hardcovers).
We will also send you a 12in. x 10in. mounted print of your choice of one colourful personalised animal portraits, signed by the artist, and with an acknowledgment of your gift inscribed on the mount.
By pledging £100 you will receive a whole set of 12 of our unique beautifully illustrated Chinese animal zodiac story books (paperbacks).
We will also send you a 12in. x 10in. limited edition mounted print of your choice of the 12 animal zodiacs, signed by the artist, and with an acknowledgment of your gift inscribed on the mount.
By pledging £50 you will receive a 12in. x 10in. personalised animal zodiac portrait with your character and Chinese name signed by one of the Snowflake books' artists, and with an acknowledgement of your gift on the margin.
By pledging £20 you will receive a 12in. x 10in. fine art print of an animal zodiac (see above) signed by one of the Snowflake books' artists, and with an acknowledgement of your gift on the margin.
By pledging £12 you will receive one beautifully illustrated hard cover story book about a Chinese Zodiac animal of your choice.
By pledging £8 you will receive one beautifully illustrated paperback story book about a Chinese Zodiac animal of your choice.
Participate in Meeting of Minds. We will be delighted if you can come to our public events and contribute your enthusiasm and ideas. All our dedicated supporters will have free entry for themselves and their children to our public events, subject to capacity.
Meet Our Great Team
I am Britta Bielenberg. Before becoming a journalist I studied business administration in Frankfurt, Paris and London as I have a lifelong passion to meet people of other languages and cultures. My work interviewing people of all walks of life took me from Berlin to Cologne, Beijing and back to London, where I worked as a radio correspondent for the German radio for 16 years, reporting especially on arts and cultural events. Working with Snowflake Books means that I can combine my experience in writing with my love of books. Snowflake’s Meeting of Minds events are a wonderful way to bring young people together from across the world, using books and arts to inspire young children.
I am Christina Barker. I have a background in social media management as well as advanced knowledge of the events industry and marketing. I have a keen eye for detail and am a lover of organisation. So, I’m excited to promote our Meeting of Minds events and hope lots of nice people will enjoy the fun and help us to continue our international meeting of minds across the world.
I am Roy Preece. I have enjoyed meeting students from many countries over many years. Human communication is a wonderful thing and too often taken for granted, or neglected. I have helped many young people struggling to express themselves better in English and, while I love to learn about different cultures, the wonderful thing is how we can all share fundamental human values such as friendship and respect. So, I am delighted to help in Snowflakes’ projects and see English children happily discovering a wider identity and reality.
I'm Stephanie Henwood and right now I'm away having a baby! I love taking part in Snowflake's fun events with children and hope to be back soon. My main role is to contact venues and arrange events, but I especially enjoy taking part in story-telling and it's the nicest job I've ever had.
I am Su Yen Hu. I discovered the value and joy of artistic expression at age of five with an inspiring teacher who encouraged me express myself through music and arts. The real magic started when I arrived in England for further study. I realized that England is famous for arts, design and architecture because English people are proud of their English culture and have the passion to preserve their culture and share with the world! To make best use of my knowledge I have learnt from England to apply all my experience to preserve my own Eastern culture that is not well appreciated even in the East. My friends and I chose to begin with the young generation with high quality art works to attract young children to access and enjoy the mysterious Eastern arts and culture.
I’m Taylor Brooker, and as well as being a freelance illustrator working on children’s books and custom portraits, I also give my time to Snowflake and MoM to run the social media channels and create visual content to reflect the artistic nature of the books. At our events, I particularly enjoy face painting and drawing the children’s animal zodiacs so that they can take a piece of art home with them. I personally didn’t learn much about other cultures or languages when I was at school, so I now think it is really important to inspire young children to learn more about cultures other than their own, as it would help bring people together more, and visual events and stories are a great way to do this.
I am Lihui Wang. I am a working researcher in science but in my spare time I also offer assistance on pinyin (alphabetical system to pronounce Chinese characters), translation and audio story recording and reading in Mandarin for Snowflake and MoM. I’ve always had a great interest in the history of ideas – both Chinese and British, and in literature and philosophical ideas, and I like to read widely. Time with Snowflake has given me fantastic experiences with creativity and imagination through arts and books. At our creative events I really enjoy interactive story reading and cross cultural conversations with children and parents and singing Chinese versions of English children’s nursery rhymes.
I am Snow Lin. I became the first girl from my village who received a university degree with support from my grandfather and tutors. To return their kindness, I became a tutor myself and devoted my whole life to teaching Chinese literature. I was retired when I met the Snowflake team and was touched by their dream to promote traditional Chinese culture world-wide. I have been writing the Chinese stories for Snowflake since 2011. My favourite titles are from the Chinese Animal Signs series. I enjoy working with the passionate illustrators who are full of unique ideas.
I am Jian Zhi Qiu. I am a country boy. I grew up in the Taiwanese countryside and spent my childhood in the woods. I love to use my own hands to make things. I like to make drawings of the countryside and I have very special feelings for forests, animals, rivers and streams. The first book I illustrated for Snowflake is The Chinese Farmers’ Calendar about the farmers’ traditions and seasonal work. I am delighted to see my paintings used to help English children share my culture. I particularly like drawing Chinese Dragons, which children love to see.
I am Jin Jie Ye. I live in Taiwan, but like to visit England to study its art. I love the Taiwanese countryside and its temples and traditions and I enjoy making paintings outdoors in the wild. I like to play with colours, which brings me joy. The delicate changes and differences of colours in nature can always make me think. I joined Snowflake in 2010 and illustrated one of Snowflake’s first bestsellers: The New Year Beast. I am pleased that my paintings and illustrations are used to bring Easten culture to English children through Snowflake’s wonderful Meeting of Minds events.
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