Snowflake books offer a great range of bilingual children’s books in English and Chinese. Whether you’re from a Chinese family, or just want to expose your child to different languages and cultures, these books are a great way to learn together.
Snowflakes books had previously been available only in hardback, but have now launched paper back versions, and we were sent a couple of titles from the range to try out.
The two books that we received are Cheeky Monkey, and Wan-Nian’s Calendar. Both of the stories are traditional Chinese tales, and as well as including the Chinese text (in Chinese characters and in English transliteration) they both have a CD at the back so you can listen to the Chinese audio.
Founders and authors of Snowflake Books, Su Yen Hu and Lihui Wang say: “In today’s society, more children are learning Mandarin than ever before, we wanted our books to help make young children feel that Chinese culture and language is not alien. Not only do we want to make learning fun and memorable but we want to bring to life through our illustrated books some of our magnificent Chinese traditions and folklores and to familiarise readers with traditional Chinese ways of thinking and living which are still roots of modern China.”
This book is from the Chinese Festivals series, and is the true story of how the Chinese lunar calendar came about, and explains the difference between the sun and moon calendars in a simple way.
The illustrations are simple coloured line drawings, which have a traditional look to them and there are plenty of these throughout the book, along with the Chinese story translation.
On the translations, you’ll see that certain words are colour coded. This is a great idea to help if your children are learning the Chinese language, as you can match up the red and green word in Chinese and English to be sure that you recognise it’s place in the translation. It will also help with memorising some of the key vocabulary. You also get a separate useful words vocabulary list at the back, in English and Chinese.
My kids are not learning Chinese at the moment – although I would love them to know it, so maybe one day in future!
This book is from the Animal Signs series, which tells the stories of each of the 12 animals that are assigned to the Chinese years. In the story, Cheeky Monkey wants to win the race and become the first animal to be assigned a year, but somehow he gets chained up under the water for many years!
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. The stories are told quite simply so they are easy enough for young children to follow.
Just like in Wan-Nian’s calendar, this book also has the full translations and Chinese learning features included.
The illustration style with this book is different, and has a water colour effect with really detailed pictures. The illustrations are really lovely and colourful, and grabbed my boys interest straight away.
If you want to learn more about Chinese culture and the Chinese language, then Snowflake books are definitely a great resource to use!
Snowflake books have also launch educational workshops for schools, that have been specifically tailored to each school visit. Activities include teaching basic Chinese greetings to talking about where China is and its famous landmarks, finishing with an introduction to the books with interactive story telling. The Chinese workshops have been designed to engage the children with Chinese culture and develop cultural awareness. These sound great!