The Paper House

Safiyah stared into the distance. If she looked hard enough, perhaps she could see all the way to her village. If she were a bird, how easy it would be to fly home again.    But she wasn’t a bird. And between here and the home she missed so much were the crowded shacks of the slum and the endless maze of buildings and alleys of Nairobi. Beyond Nairobi were roads that ran in all directions, like dark snakes.

Life is hard for ten-year-old Safiyah in the Kibera slum outside Nairobi. Too poor to go to school, she makes a meager living for herself and her grandmother Cucu by selling things she finds at the garbage dump. After using scavenged paper to fix up the inside of the hut, Safiyah starts a mural on the outside. As Safiyah begins to take pride in her creation and as word of the paper house  spreads, Safiyah and her grandmother are given a chance of a better life.

2012 | ISBN 9781459800519 | 8-11 yrs
Print copy OUT OF PRINT, but still available as an ebook.

OLA Silver Birch Express Award 2013
Chocolate Lily Children’s Choice Award 2014
Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books 

“A wonderful story about the importance of community which will raise awareness about the conditions some people must endure, and how a situation, no matter how dire, can be changed if you really want change. Highly Recommended.”  CM Magazine

“Peterson has created a vibrant story full of emotion and descriptive richness, bringing awareness of life in an African slum and the daily struggles for survival that occur there.”
Canadian Children’s Book News

Translated into Korean


You can buy my books directly through Orca Book Publishers or through your local independent or big box book store.