The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee

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An office at night is reimagined as a fantastical kingdom of paper complete with friendly dragons in this beautiful and heartfelt picture book.

When the babysitter is unable to come, Daniel is woken out of bed and joins his parents as they head downtown for their jobs as nighttime office cleaners. But the story is about more than brooms, mops, and vacuums. Mama and Papa turn the deserted office building into a magnificent kingdom filled with paper. Then they weave a fantasy of dragons and kings to further engage their reluctant companion–and even encourage him to one day be the king of a paper kingdom. 

The Paper Kingdom expresses the joy and spirit of a loving family who turn a routine and ordinary experience into something much grander. Magical art by Pascal Campion shows both the real world and the fantasy through the eyes of the young narrator.

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Author’s Note for THE PAPER KINGDOM

My parents worked as night janitors in a corporate building when I was little. On nights they couldn’t find a relative or friend to watch me, they took me with them to work. I have vague memories of dozing on office chairs while my parents mopped, swept, and vacuumed. And to keep my grumpiness at bay, they told funny stories about the people who worked in the offices during the day. My parents used their humor and imagination to make an unpleasant situation seem full of possibility and magic. I wrote The Paper Kingdomfor them, and for all hardworking families.

This is a portrait of my parents and me taken at the time.

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My name is Elizabeth. I'm a single mom raising my 2 daughters Althea and Cordelia in Kansas

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