Rolling Out

Publisher Helen Hope Kimbrough is the glue holding her family and business together

Publisher Helen Hope Kimbrough is the glue holding her family and business together
Helen Hope Kimbrough (Photo by Ron Hill)

Helen Hope Kimbrough is a reading evangelist, literacy advocate and racial equity champion. She journeyed into writing and publishing children’s books after she was unable to find ones with diverse characters, especially for boys of color. In 2005, she founded her independent publishing company, AK Classics LLC, to create relatable and cultural content for children and families of color. As an author of four multicultural children’s books and a publisher of numerous titles in various genres, Kimbrough has committed herself to literacy initiatives and delves into the importance of representation, inclusion and unique experiences relative to storytelling.

What is your profession, what are your responsibilities, and why did you select your career?

I am the founder and CEO of AK Classics LLC. My responsibilities include creating children’s books to make reading fun, interactive and educational; reviewing manuscripts; managing a team of illustrators, graphic designers, printers and distributors; expanding partnerships with schools and various organizations; creating marketing plans and more. I selected this career because I wanted my sons to see images and reflections of themselves inside of children’s books.

As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower to be?

My superpower revolves around my faith and family. I asked my younger son this question, and his response was, “You are the glue to this family on a small and larger scale. You hold everything together and even plan events to keep everyone close.” I wasn’t expecting that response, but I am grateful to be a part of a devoted family with God as the source.

What qualities make you unique as an African American female leader?

The qualities that make me unique as an African American leader are:

1. I am purpose-driven and mission-focused.

2. I have grit and determination.

3. I am ambitious, strategic and inspired by doing great work.

4. I build trusted partnerships and relationships.

5. I coach up so that others can grow in their careers.

6. I am resilient.

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