Kid Lit Love: The Paper Kingdom

I am thrilled to be returning to my Kid Lit Love series featuring picture books from members of the Kid Lit Community! Today’s book is titled THE PAPER KINGDOM by Helen Ku Rhee, illustrated by Pascal Campion, published by Penguin Random House.

Take a look at this gorgeous cover art!

The Paper Kingdom


Based on the author’s childhood, “The Paper Kingdom” is about little Daniel who goes to work with his parents to their job as night janitors, where he expects dreariness but finds magic and wonder, thanks to the power of imagination.

Helena Ku Rhee, Author

I asked Helena a few questions about her new book and writing for children in general. It was a pleasure to connect with her.

1. Tell us how you came to write books for children. I think I’ve always loved picture books for the synergy between the words and illustrations. In fact, I won my first story contest in the third grade, and pencil drawings accompanied that story — so I think I was training to be a picture book author at a very young age!

2. Tell us about the inspiration for your book. I was driving through Los Angeles one evening when something about the empty, quiet street triggered childhood memories. The Paper Kingdom is based on my childhood when my parents worked as night janitors. They couldn’t afford childcare, so they often had to take me to work. And to keep me entertained, they made up funny stories. They did their best to turn drudgery into magic, and I wanted to capture that sense of wonder in the story.

3. Share your advice for children’s writers. Read what’s out in the marketplace. It’s great to be familiar with the classics, but it’s just as important to read new output from current writers. Also, keep in mind that the illustrations will help illuminate the story, so no need to go into lengthy descriptions. Also, I truly value the process of putting away my draft for a few weeks, and then evaluating it with fresh eyes. That’s probably one of the best tools for making your book as clean and as lean as possible, because that distance helps you quickly spot the slow parts or the unnecessary passages or even characters.

Thank you Helena Ku Rhee for being a guest on Kid Lit Love!


Twitter handle: @HelenaRhee

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Joining the 12 by 12 Picture Book Challenge

In January I did something that makes me feel nervous and excited at the same time.  I joined the 12 by 12 picture book challenge. And now I will immerse myself in writing all year long.

Although I’m very new to the world of writing, I believe in myself as a capable creator of children’s literature and I want to be part of that world.  For this challenge, I must write 12 picture books drafts in 2017.  One draft each month.  Revising a draft also counts.  I may need a little stronger tea in my mug this year to help me out with this 🙂


Joining the 12 by 12 community gives the opportunity to get feedback from other writers in an online format.  This is so valuable as writing is all about getting feedback and doing revisions.  I have so many ideas swirling around in my head and hope to get them all down on paper into a solid draft form.

The challenge is open to new picture book writers and more seasoned writers as well.  There are lots of SCBWI members (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).  So far I find it to be a very welcoming and supportive online community.

Now it is March and I am right on track with my writing.  The 12 by 12 challenge continues!