Kathlyn Kirkwood


Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Kathlyn J Kirkwood is the author of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round: the Story of an Everyday Activist and the Making of the Martin Luther King Holiday.

A retired college professor, Kathlyn focuses on writing for children and volunteering with under-priveleged 3rd and 4th grade students in the Nashville area. She has developed several innovative workshops that use trade books to help young people learn about the world beyond their immediate surroundings, and to inspire them with a love of reading.

What is your favorite food?

Memphis barbecue!

What is your favorite thing to do for fun?

Inspiring and mentoring third and fourth graders! I have teamed up with my beloved husband, Alan, to bring books to life for elementary students. We affectionately call ourselves Mama and Papa K, and we feed their young hearts, minds, souls, and bodies. Yes, we eat together metaphorically and literally!

My goal is to use my life experiences and love of books to birth young activists—to help them see that they are 100% capable of changing the world for the better, starting with themselves.



Visit Kathlyn at:

Forthcoming books:

Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round: The Story of an Everyday Activist and the Making of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, Versify/HMHCo., Fall 2021

Available for School Visits:

Kathlyn and her husband Alan form “The Team Kirkwood Literacy Lab”, which brings books to life for elementary-age children through holistic engagement with text. Each story is a starting point for exploring the world, learning life skills, and developing the unique interests of each child.

Working with a wide variety of sponsors, they design activities that expand students’ horizons in multiple ways: finding a new city on a map, eating new foods, learning the lost art of the handwritten thank you note, hearing new music, and more. Their commitment to underprivileged children is simple: loving guidance to see a world beyond their immediate circumstances.