Everyone should be the author of their own story.  Storytelling isn’t just something that happens in movies or books, but we all have our own story to tell. Story Shifters started as an opportunity to expose children of African descent to the many stories of people who look like them from all over the world.


Through reading clubs and other youth programming, Stories Shifters aims to build not only children's literacy skills and historical knowledge but also their confidence to develop their own stories to share with their communities and broader. When people are given access to more than one perspective of history and societal standards, they have more agency to decide what they will believe about themselves and their community. Story Shifters uses a collection of culturally relevant children's literature to expand children's understanding of their capacity and value and that of others in their community. 


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About The Founder

Adelia Davis is a Detroit native who graduated from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor where she studied biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience. She received the Wallenberg Fellowship that allowed her to carry out a global self-directed service project.


She chose to spend a year in Cape Town, South Africa observing the similarities of black representation in children’s literature in comparison to the United States. She ran after-school reading programs to promote a positive self-image in black youth in Cape Town, and has since returned to Detroit and begun similar youth programming through Story Shifters LLC and with other community organizations.



Story Shifters runs community-centered free youth programming. At any one time there could be 1-3 projects going on. Below are past and current projects. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities or being a host site for a project please send us a request!

Littlefield Homeschool, Detroit, Michigan 

A weekly reading club where a mobile library is brought in for story play activities for a group of 8 learners ages 3-14 years old

Warren E. Bow Elementary, Detroit, Michigan

A reading and writing intervention program that worked with learners to develop their fluency, comprehension, confidence, global mindset, and love for reading through the the use of culturally relevant text.

Zonnebloem Project 

Sunflower Learning Centre 

Cape Town, South Africa 

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Yes SHE Can! 

Guga S'Thebe 

Langa, South Africa

A reading and writing intervention program that worked with learners to develop their fluency, comprehension, confidence, global mindset, and love for reading through the the use of culturally relevant text.

A five day girls empowerment camp focused on understanding identity, wisdom, purpose, resilience, and self-care through dialogue, activities, and presentations.



Mother & Child


Fall, 2019

Brilliant Detroit

Story Shifting Workshop

In partnership with the Family Resilience Lab of Wayne State University, this workshop is centered around hearing and learning from the stories of mothers and children in Detroit.  Through dialogue and creative activities, we will share some ways for participants to feel more confident in themselves and their ability to share their stories.

Young Black Women’s Expo (YBWE)

March 23,2019

Jalen Rose Leadership Academy Story Shifting Workshop 

A workshop for high school students to explore how to use literature and arts for personal discovery. Adelia led a dialogue for the young women to discuss media's influence on self-esteem and identity development followed by a collective poetry writing activity. 

Warren E. Bow Elementary


April 12, 2019

Story Shifting Workshop

An in-class workshop for 3rd and 4th grade students to learn about South Africa and how its history relates to the history of the United States. The students then read an empowering story together that led to the sharing their own stories through a poetry worksheet and creating self-portraits. 

Project Community Lecture

November 27, 2018

University of Michigan

This lecture was a panel where Adelia shared her service experiences and answered students questions about respectfully entering and exiting communities, collaboration, and service-learning. 

Cross-Cultural Connections in Education Inequity

October 8, 2018

University of Michigan 

OptiMize "Critical Issues in Detroit" courseThis workshop was an interactive lesson about the similarities and differences in educational inequality in Detroit and Cape Town, South Africa. 



Nia’s Question will be the first book in a series about an African American family of five. The 6-year-old twins Nia and Noah go on adventures and learn lessons as they explore their environment and the world at large while their baby sister does her best to do the same at home. In Nia’s Question, early one Saturday morning, little Nia asks her father a deep question: "Where is God?" This question leads her on an adventure to many places where she encounters different ways and aspects of life. However, no matter where she goes God responds to her question in the same way, which eventually leads her home back into her daddy's arms to share her new knowledge. The purpose of this story is to show children the commonalities of life across the world and how we are all connected. Nia also serves as role model for children to ask questions and to be leaders in answering those questions for society. Through imagination and meditation, children can make discoveries that adults may not as easily be able to come to. At the same time, Nia’s encouraging parents add to creating a narrative that uplifts Black families and serves as an example of diversity in children’s literature. 

Coming Soon!

Great Books to Share:







Contact Us

Please feel free to send us a message to get involved with a project, request to book the founder for a workshop, interest in donating books and/or monetarily, or just to network! 


Special Thanks

Thank you to those who have supported the youth programming through book donations, venue usage, time, and monetarily. 


Wallenberg Fellowship


Otto Foundation

Sunflower Learning Centre

Zonnebloem Girls’ Primary School Staff and Students

Zonnebloem Boys’ Primary School Staff and Students

Mina Cup

Thope Foundation

Guga S’Thebe Arts & Cultural Centre


Warren E. Bow Elementary School

Northwest Activities Center

Friends and Family in Cape Town & Detroit

Mentors and Support System at the University of Michigan




Memory Matching Game

The 44* Phonemes

Noun Pracice Sheet

 Dolch Sight Words 

City Shapes

There are many ways to learn with a picture book! In this video, you'll hear the story City Shapes by Diana Murray and be introduced to activities and learning tools to engage further.

Story Shifters