The Transformative Power of Imagination, a guest post by Helena Ku Rhee

My parents often apologize to me for my childhood because they imagine it must have been a tough time—especially since, for them, that period was one of hardship. But the childhood they believe I had differs vastly from the one that exists in my memory.

We were immigrants from South Korea, and when I was around two, we moved into an apartment building near downtown Los Angeles, full of other newcomers, working-class families, and some very persistent cockroaches. At that time, my parents worked as night janitors and took me to work with them every night for three years since they couldn’t afford childcare. I remember watching my parents sweep and vacuum, and I also recall falling asleep in empty offices when fatigue wore me down. But instead of a miserable time, going to work at night offered plenty of fun, and I wrote about how drudgery was transformed into magic in my children’s book The Paper Kingdom, Illustrated by Pascal Campion.