• Books,  Events,  Spring into Writing,  Writing

    Writer of Wonder Helena Ku Rhee

    It’s always fun finding new writers. While visiting Cythia Mackey’s website I read the most wonderful interview with Helena KuRhee. I fell in love with the idea behind the story of Helena’s new book: The Paper Kingdom! I had to find out more about this story about Helena herself. 

    To read more about Helena visit her website here: http://helenakrhee.com/


    Finding Magic and Wonder Around You

    by Helena Ku Rhee


    I have a rare gift: I’m never bored. Even as a child, I rarely complained of boredom. I wasn’t born with this gift. Instead, it was cultivated in me by two amazing people: my parents.


    When I was little, my parents worked as night janitors in a corporate building in L.A. And on nights they couldn’t find a babysitter for me, they took me with them to work, where they turned drudgery into magic. They told me funny stories about the people who worked in the offices by day, and helped me imagine a fantasyland in that empty office building. Thanks to them, I had early practice in the art of finding fun wherever I found myself. I wrote a children’s book about that time in my life, The Paper Kingdom, and it was released by Penguin Random House in early 2020. More info here: http://bit.ly/2IRw8Ti

    NPR interviewed me and illustrator Pascal Campion about our book, The Paper Kingdom. The interview is all about finding magic and inspiration. You can listen to the 6-minute interview here: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/14/815250760/behold-the-magic-of-take-your-child-to-work-night

    And I’ll let you in on a little secret: this gift of mine can be cultivated in all of us. How? Well, we hear phrases like “be in the now” or “live in the present.” But the key question is: how do you do this on a practical level, on a day-to-day basis?

    I’ll give you one concrete example. When I take my dog Sherwin on an early morning walk, I explore the neighborhood like a writer, hungry for sensory details that I can later use in my stories. I stop to observe the shape of shadows on the sidewalk from a neighbor’s tree. If my dog yanks on the leash to chase a squirrel, I take note of the burn of the leash in my hand, the strain of the muscles in my arm (these descriptions could be used in an action scene). And I try to listen for different layers of sound – the birds gossiping in the trees, an airplane flying overhead, music filtering out from a home. I smell lawns being mowed, the roses blooming near the sidewalk, the exhaust from a car zooming past. I’m hungry for these details because I know they’ll be useful when I sit down at my computer. In other words, my brain is engaged and I’m not bored.

    While I write this, our world is going through a very tough time due to Covid-19. We’re all so grateful for first responders and all those keeping our cities safe, clean, and livable. But people stuck at home may be bored and restless. Perhaps they’re stressed and filled with anxiety. So I get it. It’s not easy to fend off boredom when you’re trapped inside day in and day out. And it’s not so easy to take great interest in the shape of clouds, the sound of rain, the taste of dark chocolate when your mind is filled with worries.

    But I hope that no matter the circumstances, you manage to see magic and wonder in this amazing world. If you’re an aspiring author, that ability is a gift that’ll serve you well with your stories.

    Helena Ku Rhee is a writer based in Los Angeles. You can read more about her books and writing process here: http://helenakrhee.com/

    And if you want to keep posted about Helena’s events and news, subscribe here: http://eepurl.com/cPRrL5 All new subscribers will receive a free dreams-to-reality worksheet Helena put together to achieve her writing dreams. (You can use the worksheet for any goal you may have.)


    You can also follow Helena on Instagram (@helenakurhee), Twitter (@HelenaRhee) and Facebook (Helena Ku Rhee).  

    Each link has a list of places to buy Helena’s books!


    The Paper Kingdom: http://helenakrhee.com/books/the-paper-kingdom/

    The Turtle Ship: http://helenakrhee.com/books/the-turtle-ship/

  • Book Review

    Puppy Truck

    What do you do when you want something so bad, but you don’t get it as a gift? Some kids cry, some complain, and some are happy. Carter made the truck he got as a present into the puppy he always wanted. 


    My son holding "Puppy Truck"

    “Puppy Truck” is a wonderful story of Carter who has a huge imagination. Brian Pinkney does a wonderful job of a boy who shows love to his truck as both a dog and a truck. Carter and the truck have lots of fun adventures. It’s a wonderfully imaginative book. Though the point isn’t to teach a lesson, the book could be used to teach children to be happy with what they have instead of being upset for what they didn’t recieve.


    The story itself is illustrated by lots great sound effects and words. These fun words merge wonderfully with the images. The words help so much to show Carter’s excitement and to carry the reader through the story.  


    The art in “Puppy Truck” is very whimsical. I love the big, bold, varied line that Brian uses. These were done with India Ink and it looks like he used a brush for his inks. The brush strokes make it feel like there is a lot of movement in the pictures.

    The acrylics are just as bold as the lines. Beautifully bold colors are used throughout the image.

    Cover of "Puppy Truck"

    Honestly I’ve never tried acrylics or inks on Canson Paper (as Brian did). The movement in these colors mimic those of the ink lines making the images look like they are animated.


    Get the Book

    Pick up Puppy Truck: https://indiebound.addlibra.com/store/cart?_ga=2.217285270.18093314.1576205787-890506729.1575063473

    Brian Pinkney’s Website: https://www.brianpinkney.net/main.html

    More about Puppy Truck: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Puppy-Truck/Brian-Pinkney/9781534426870


    Remember to ask your library to pick up a copy of this book. Also leave a review for this book on Goodreads and Amazon!