In today’s society, the media has become a prevalent influence on young girls. To Karen Kilpatrick, it became important for her to accurately portray the diversity of the world through her children’s books.
Initially, Karen started writing stories for her children that taught important lessons. However, Karen never planned for her stories to leave her household because “art and writing are so close to you and are expressions of yourself.” With the encouragement of her husband, she decided to publish her first book. Importantly, Karen had a vision of what she wanted her characters to look like, was comfortable with what she was creating, and was unwilling to compromise her artistic vision. Thus, she decided to start her brand Pumpkinheads. The first book that she published soon became an Amazon best seller.
Both an illustrator and a writer, Karen fills her books with colorful drawings and imaginative stories. Karen’s stories “focus on the who of raising children.” Many parents nowadays are focused on intellectual qualities such as how early their child can read or count. Instead Karen focuses on traits such as kindness, generosity, and conscientiousness. These important characteristics are the foundation of how Karen raised her own children and to her they are “just as important as intellectual qualities.”
Karen wants to “represent what the world looks like in books.” Her stories capture the ethnic diversity that she experiences every day in Florida. Three of the characters in her books are based on her own multiracial children and the other three are based on the friends of her children. The characters in her books have varied personalities and backgrounds, but illustrate that “everyone is on the same playing field.”
The positive responses that Karen has received from her audience provides her with validation for the work that she does. Her brand continues to expand and grow with her readers. Dolls are currently being developed and she is considering developing a line of educational toys. In addition to being an author, Karen works for the company JazWings, an online idea incubator, where she is the campaign manager and creator. She loves her job because she constantly gets to encounter innovative ideas and try something new every day. As a toy entrepreneur, Karen is part of the international organization Women in Toys. Karen previously worked as an attorney and is the founder of two online legal firms. With her many professional roles, Karen is most passionate about writing children’s books and spreading a positive message in the community.
Contributor: Rebecca Zuo