The Paper Menagerie

"The Paper Menagerie" is a 2011 fantasy/magical realism short story by Ken Liu. It was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.[1]


Jack, a little boy from Connecticut, enjoys playing with origami animals that his Chinese mother makes for him and that comes to life when she blows into them. As Jack grows into a teenager he tries to fit in with his American friends and starts to ignore the origami animals and his mother, who tries very hard to speak English and change her habits in order to please him. After a family tragedy takes place Jack finds a message from his mother in one of the origami animals and learns about her past.


The story became the first work of fiction to win all of the Nebula, the Hugo and the World Fantasy Awards.[2][3] The South China Morning Post praised the story.[4]


  1. ^ Read Ken Lius Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning The Paper Menagerie, at The Verge; published November 12, 2012; retrieved May 8, 2017
  2. ^ Congrats to the winners of the 2012 Hugo Awards!, at io9; published February 9, 2012; retrieved May 8, 2017
  3. ^ Read Ken Liu's amazing story that swept the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards, at io9; published August 11, 2012; retrieved May 8, 2017
  4. ^ Book review: The Paper Menagerie has rightly swept the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy awards, at South China Morning Post; published April 1, 2016; retrieved May 8, 2017