Written by: Karen Lynn Williams

Illustrated by: Catherine Stock

Author: Christa Hallsten

Grade Level: Early Elementary


* Students will be able to identify Malawi, Africa on a map of Africa

* Students will demonstrate their resourcefulness and creativity by making their own galimoto.

Background Information:

This story takes place in Malawi, Africa. Kondi, a young boy works to construct a galimoto. Galimoto means "car" in Chichewa, the national language of Malawi. It is also the name for a type of push toy made by children. Old wires, sticks, cornstalks, and pieces of yam are shaped into cars, trucks, bicycles, trains, and helicopters. All of these intricate toys are known as galimoto (GAL-lee-moe-toe).

The word galimoto may have come form the English word motor car, with the word in reverse order. In Chichewa the sounds r and l are often interchanged (and c and g may have been) and every syllable ends with a vowel.

Williams, Karen Lynn. (1990). Galimoto. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books.

Materials Needed:

* Williams, Karen Lynn. (1990). Galimoto. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books.

* A large world map

* A small map of Africa

* Any objects that students can use to construct their own galimoto, such as pipe cleaners, toothpicks, paper towel rolls, styrofoam, etc.


1. Introduce the story by asking students to locate Malawi, Africa by marking it with a circle on a large world map. Next, have students locate Malawi on their small map of Africa by marking it with an X. Help students to locate their city, state, and country on the large map and see how far away it is form Kondi's country. Tell the students they will be reading a story about a little boy from Malawi. Ask students what they think Kondi and his friends may do for fun in Malawi. After students have responded, tell them they will be learning about a special toy called a galimoto. Ask students to pay special attention to what materials the toy is made of and how he is able to gather them.

2. Read the story,Galimoto, to the class.

3. After the story is read, have the students recall what the galimoto was made of and how Kondi was able to gather these items. Explain what galimoto means and the history and background of the toy (refer to background information).

4. Next, explain that the students will be creating their own galimoto. Show the students the supplies you will provide but encourage them to gather other supplies as Kondi did. They may find things on the playground, lunch room, etc. Be sure to emphasize that they must ask before taking supplies from these places. The students will be creating their galimoto in the afternoon so they will have time to find extra materials. Next, split the class up into teams. The team will work together to construct the galimoto.

5. Allow students time to construct their galimoto. After the groups are finished have them explain their galimoto and where and how they found the materials.

Extension: Invite other classes to your classroom to view the "galimoto display" and have students read Galimoto to them.


Assess the students ability to locate Malawi, Africa by checking where they put their X on the small map of Africa, and circle on the large world map.

Evaluate the creation of the galimoto by assessing:

1. How well the group worked together.

2. The ingenuity in the creation of the galimoto.

3. The resourcefulness of finding the materials that were used to build the galimoto.


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