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about us

Past Present Future Publishing was officially launched in the summer of 2023 by longtime friends and collaborators Katy Swalwell and Jennifer Leatherby.

After working together on the Amazing Iowa book series, Jen and Katy wanted to continue creating projects for young people, their families, and educators that help celebrate the rich diversity and complex history of their community. The duo also wanted to do what they they could to counter the intensifying attacks on BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ people in the state and beyond. Because they love reading, art, education, and activism… why not start a publishing company to create beautiful books that generate profits to be rolled back into youth organizing for justice? They assembled an advisory board of seven incredible Iowa-based community organizers, classroom teachers, and book store owners and got to work.

Katy Swalwell is a nationally-recognized educator, author, and scholar committed to equity and justice in schools.

Jennifer Leatherby is a celebrated multi media artist, educator, activist, and doula. Both are based in Des Moines, Iowa.

OUR vision

  • To provide an outlet for people to share their art and stories from the margins—particularly the experiences of Iowans with significance beyond the state.
  • To help those stories reach a wide audience, especially of young people.
  • To channel all profits to organizations supporting youth movements for justice.

OUR values

  • We believe children’s literature can be a powerful way to challenge dominant narratives that are incomplete, inaccurate, and dangerous.
  • We prioritize the art and stories of artists and authors from marginalized communities in Iowa and the Upper Midwest.
  • We celebrate stories that help readers understand the joys and complexities of the human experience and inspire creative, collective forms of resistance to oppression.
  • We do not tell other people’s stories—we provide support for and collaborate with.
  • We strive for our projects to be as accessible as possible.
  • We put the health and well-being of our collaborators before timelines or profits.