“Forbidden Book” is “read” by non-profit hosts at the Johnston Farmer’s Market.

On the wall of the Slow Down Coffee Co. in Des Moines is a shelf full of banned books.

A Johnston book organization hosts a reading event at the Johnston Farmer’s Market in September.

A group of Johnston parents, who said they noticed an “alarming” trend from 2021 of parents urging school boards to remove books they deemed “offensive,” set up Annie’s Foundation, according to the organization’s website.

Founder and President Sara Hayden Parris says the new nonprofit’s mission is to ensure members of the community have access to books that reflect the diversity and complexity of the world around them.

“Basically, we think it’s very important that children reflect themselves in the books they read and that are made available to them,” says Hayden Parris. “They also see books written by authors who look like them and have a similar background.”

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