Meet Your Neighbors Storybox: South and East Africa

Meet your neighbors story box

Inspiration.  As our neighborhoods grow more diverse, our community is enriched by new voices, different experiences, and unique perspectives.

Recognizing this, WDMCS Community Education partnered with West Des Moines Public Library to create the Meet Your Neighbors Story Boxes. Each Story Box focuses on a different cultural group found in our WDMCS neighborhoods. We believe that shared stories, food, crafts, music, and activities can foster understanding across differences and help us be good neighbors to all who make the West Des Moines area their home.

What You’ll Find Inside

Inside each Story Box, you’ll find both fiction and nonfiction books, music, and a reading and listening guide you can use at home or in your classroom. You can also explore expansion activities and resources online.

While not every country, culture, or experience is represented in this Story Box, we hope the included books will serve as an entry point for learning. If you have suggestions about how we might better represent the experiences of our neighbors in different regions around the world, please visit the website listed above and fill out our feedback form.

We hope these Story Boxes will be useful tools to engage young children with materials that reflect their experience, as well as invite the whole community to learn from our neighbors both near and far.

Story Boxes are available for checkout at the West Des Moines Public Library.

Created in partnership by WDMCS Community Education and the West Des Moines Public Library.



  • Living in South Africa by Chole Perkins
  • The boy who harnessed the wind by William Kamkwamba
  • Brothers in hope by Mary Williams
  • Grandad Mandela by Zindzi Mandela
  • Under the same sun by Sharon Robinson
  • Children just like me: A school like mine by DK Publishing
  • Idriss and his marble by Rene Gouichoux
  • Mama Panya's pancakes by Mary Chamberlain
  • Nya's long walk by Linda Sue Park
  • Milet mini picture dictionary: English/Somali by Sedat Turhan
  • I am farmer by Baptiste and Miranda Paul
  • My brother is a runner by Jin-ha Gong
  • What do you celebrate? by Whitney Stewart
  • Mama Miti : Wangari Maathai and the trees of Kenya by Donna Jo Napoli
  • Putumayo Presents African Playground (music CD)
  • Activity & Materials Packet


  • Malawi
  • Sudan
  • South Africa
  • Cameroon
  • Kenya
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania