After their first child was born, James and Su Chen from The Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation, witnessed first-hand the pressures Hong Kong children face and the lack of reading culture in Hong Kong. They recognized that too often, a child’s “success” was based on their last test score, rather than focusing on nurturing an independent thinker who is self-motivated and empathetic – just a few of the benefits that arise from reading for pleasure. Rather than ‘reinventing the wheel’, they searched around the world for a non-profit organization that could address these issues and help change the local mindset in Hong Kong.
When James and Su Chen met Judy Koch, Founder of the Bring Me a Book Foundation in the U.S., she told them her dream was “for every child to be read to.” Set up in 1997, Bring Me a Book Foundation’s emphasis on empowering parents to the joys and advantages of reading to their children and providing libraries of quality books for easy access in underserved communities, resonated deeply with James and Su Chen.
In 2006, Bring Me a Book™ Hong Kong (BMABHK) was officially launched. The Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation seeded the operational costs for the first five years and since then, BMABHK has become 100 per cent self-reliant on finding other sources of funding to cover both operational and program costs – through the generous support of corporations, individuals, government grants, foundations, social enterprise initiatives and biennial large-scale fundraisers.
Other affiliates of Bring Me A Book™ in the United States include Los Angeles, Florida and St. Louis. Hong Kong is the only affiliate outside of the U.S., and works with partners in mainland China to conduct parent and teacher training and consultation to schools.
In 2008, the Feng Zikai Chinese Children’s Picture Book Award was established after Su and James Chen noticed that the number of original Chinese children’s books was greatly outnumbered by translated children’s books from the US, UK, Japan, among other countries. As the first international prize of its kind, the Feng Zikai Chinese Children’s Picture Book Award is awarded biennially to the best picture books originally published in Chinese.
The international success of the Feng Zikai Award was catapulted after the winner from inaugural award, “A New Year’s Reunion” was translated and was selected as The New York Times Top Ten Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2011. Since then, many other of the Feng Zikai award-winning books have been translated into several languages, include English, French, Japanese and Korean.
The award is sponsored by Mrs. Daisy Chen, co-sponsored by Bring Me a Book™ Hong Kong.
We would like to thank The Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation for their support over the years, and applaud their hard work and dedication supporting education, learning, and personal development since the Foundation was inaugurated in 2003.