The Paper Kingdom

Helena Ku Rhee ’96 shared her love of writing with over 40 alums and read aloud from her new children’s book, The Paper Kingdom. Majoring in English at Yale, Helena then lived abroad before heading to law school and becoming a VP in business affairs at Sony Pictures. But her lifelong dream was to be a writer, and she has been in love with picture books as an art form ever since she was a kid. The Paper Kingdom is based on her early childhood in Koreatown in Los Angeles, where her parents took her along on their jobs as night janitors.

When asked what advice she would give young first-gen low-income students today, Helena replied, “You have fire, guts, and determination to keep going. Life is not always fair, especially with rejections and frustrations as I have experienced writing stories. But I kept going. Yalies, you have it — curiosity, ambition — and you are competitive. Don’t give up. If you try, your dreams may come true.”