We are very excited to say we will be sending a new shipment of books to the Tibetan Children’s Village in Ladakh, the northernmost point in India that Snow Lion has reached yet.
And to wrap up the year, in honor of all children everywhere, a few words from our inspiration:
On Wednesday evening in Quebec City, the Snow Lion Storytelling Initiative was awarded the Projet par Excellence, the highest recognition at the Forces AVENIR gala. What a thrilling and inspiring privilege to meet the other finalists, young activists from across the world led by the common conviction that individuals have the power and duty to transform the world for the better.
Thank you to my family, Dalai Lama Fellows, McGill University, our collaborators in the children’s book world and the Indian and Tibetan communities — this award is for you! The $15,000 grant propels Snowlion forward. I cannot thank Forces AVENIR group enough for their kindness and generosity.
Forces AVENIR has nominated Snow Lion as a finalist for the prestigious Arts, Literature and Culture grant, a program that celebrates young peoples’ commitment to social engagement and community building. The grant comes at a most exciting time for us: having completed and exceeded our original goals for Snow Lion, we are now ready to build the Tibetan chapter and possibly expand our literacy model to communities across the world. The judges will announce the award winner at the September Gala in Quebec City. Fingers crossed!
How does a culture divorced from its native land survive? The conversation after my presentation at the Bologna International Children’s Book Fair delved into this question. Snow Lion’s goal of actualizing languages so as to inspire children to learn their mother tongue resonated with audience members. Ilse, an illustrator in the audience, spoke of her experience as a child growing up with Latvian parents in the United States. She never learned Latvian because there were no ways to practice the language.
Ilse’s story reminded me of the critical role that storybooks play in all cultures, even in those that do not come to mind when we think of endangered languages and cultures, like the communities of immigrants around the world. Language is the glue that keeps families and communities together. The site ourmothertongues.org offers a record of the current movement to safeguard Native American languages. In one video, a Navajo mother speaks about the special relationship that her own mother and her son share: while she never learned her native language from her mother, who was punished for speaking Navajo in the government boarding school she was forced to attend years ago, her mother now teaches her grandson.
And thank you again to Lynne Rudolph for helping with travelling costs. Lynne grew up in a family that valued books and learning. Her mother was a librarian and, following in her footsteps, she became a librarian too. During her 30 years as an elementary school librarian, she developed a deep love, appreciation and respect for children’s literature, its authors, translators, illustrators … And most importantly – its audience. “Bringing the love of books and story to children was the thing that I loved most about my job,” she says. “Making that connection was so profoundly important to me. I am proud to be connected with the Snow Lion Project.”
A belated note to wish you all a Happy New Year! Thank you again for taking part in the Snow Lion Storytelling Initiative. The project is now almost three years old and could not have happened without your generous participation. The books have successfully arrived at most of the schools involved in Snow Lion. Soon we will be sending out your copies as well.
For those of you travelling to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair this year, I will be presenting Snow Lion on Monday March 24th and would love to give you your copies in person. I look forward to seeing you there!
AND A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO LYNNE RUDOLPH FOR CONTRIBUTING TO TRAVEL COSTS TO GET TO BOLOGNA!
Here’s a letter we received that perfectly manifests what Snow Lion is all about. From Namgyal Yemphel, headmaster of STS Shillong:
Dear Ms. Nelly Buchet-Deák,
Just in time for the season of giving here in the West, Tibetan refugee children across India are receiving copies of the Snow Lion books in their school libraries and community centers. We’ve received acknowledgement from the different Tibetan refugee schools of India: the Central School for Tibetans (CST) and Sambhota Tibetan Schools Society (STS) and the SOS Tibetan Children’s Villages (TCV). SOS Tibetan Children’s Villages is a member of SOS Children’s Villages International, an international organization dedicated to providing “quality alternative care for children who cannot live with their biological families.” Our Snow Lion translator Khawabu Lobsang Tgupten graduated from SOS Tibetan Children’s Village Gopalpur, a school that sent us a letter of acknowledgement last week!
On December 12th, the headmistress of Sambhota Tibetan School in the Northern town of Paonta sent us these photos of her students exploring the books.