Author: Karen Lynn Williams
Illustrator: Catherine Stock
Concepts: barter, poverty, resources
Review: In Chichewa, the national language of Malawi in Africa, “galimoto” means “car”. It is also the name for a type of push toy created by children. Galimotos are made primarily from old wire, but can also contain sticks, cornstalks and even yams. Galimotos have moving parts and are propelled by means of a long stick which the child holds. A galimoto is not always a car. It can be any kind of vehicle.
Galimoto is the story of Kondi, a young boy who decides to make such a toy for himself. At the beginning of the story, he does not have enough wire to build his galimoto. However, throughout the day, he cleverly collects what he needs from other children and adults. At the end of the day, he has enough wire to make his own galimoto, a truck. Once he has all of his materials, Kondi sits under some flame trees to build his galimoto. That evening, he joins the other village children playing with their galimotos.
While in Africa, Karen Lynn Williams was intrigued with galimotos and the children who built these creative toys out of practically nothing. Based on this interest, she created a warm story about a persistent boy. Catherine Stock’s watercolors subtly work the busy life in an African village into the story.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children