As a self-published author, Kimberly K. Parker is using her life experiences to educate, tell stories, and coach others into living their dreams. At the heart of Parker’s work is her love for writing. “I just love words. They’re so powerful, they have the ability to uplift or destroy, they can change a person’s outlook, they can change a person’s life. So if they are there, why not utilize them,” Parker told the AFRO.
As a child, she was often ridiculed and labeled proper, smarty-pants, and teachers pet. She was even called ‘white girl’ on several occasions because slang was not part of her day-to-day conversation. However, she continued to use the dictionary for new and interesting words and proceeded to put them on paper, making writing her primary source of expression.
In 2005, Parker self-published her first book, Out of the Mouths of Babes: Spiritual Insights for Practical Living, which was inspired by her two oldest children and their ability to transform her spirit through words. After the birth of her third child, she released the book’s sequel in 2011, Out of the Mouths of Babes: Daily Devotions from Our Greatest Teachers. In 2013, she released her first technical book, Writing an Essay is Like Playing Basketball, where she correlates players on a basketball court to essential pieces of an essay.
Parker works with first-time authors, helping them translate their thoughts onto paper and walking them through the steps of self-publishing. “When people hear book publishing, they think it’s this massive undertaking and it’s not,” she says. “To publish a book simply means to take your creative content and put it in a format that can be reproduced so others can enjoy it – that’s all it is.”
Parker’s latest book, published in 2015, documents one of her most life-altering experiences: teaching English to students in China through the international language program English First. In about 200 pages, she documents the challenges and successes of her year abroad in 2013.
“What I experienced in China is there is no glass ceiling. They look at your base qualifications and if you’re a hard worker. If you prove that, you can advance,” she says. “So I started off as a foreign teacher in January and by June I was senior teacher because I put in the work. They needed someone to work 12 hours on Saturday, I did it, and my daughter was with me, too.”
During her time in China, Parker also witnessed a cultural awakening. “If you were of African descent and you were a child, I did not see you,” she says. The only children she saw who resembled herself were her own.
“When I saw that there were no beautiful Black faces consistently seen in China, I said I have a duty to offer this opportunity to as many Black children as possible,” says Parker, who is organizing a trip back to China in April 2016. “I have a grand vision of seeing this sea of beautiful Black faces at the Great Wall with our Kimberly K. Parker International t-shirts on saying ‘Yes we can, yes we did.’
Parker is working on her next book, which will focus on the importance and ease of increasing vocabulary for adults and children alike. She takes these strategies into corporations and nonprofits during “Lunch n’ Learns,” teaching groups of busy professionals ways to refresh their English and language arts skills.
“I enjoy teaching in whatever capacity that may be, I welcome the opportunity,” she says. “I believe that we’re so marginalized as African Americans and oftentimes labeled in ways that are not true so any opportunity I have to expose a little insight to help a person change their thinking and foster change on the parts of others – it’s my duty.”
For more information, visit www.kimberlykparker.com.