Read Around the World Storytime: Africa

Becky Morales — educator, mother and founder of KidWorldCitizen — and I are teaming up to bring you a series of Read Around the World Storytime posts in which we recommend great books and activities for teaching kids about countries around the world. We are recommending books that are fun to read aloud and activities that are simple enough for librarians and teachers to implement in a single session with a group of kids.

Last month, we brought you book recommendations and an activity to teach kids about maps. (See Read Around the World Storytime: Maps.) Today, we have book recommendations and an activity to teach kids about countries in Africa.

Our schedule for the entire Read Around the World Storytime Series is:

  • September – Maps
  • October – Africa
  • November – South America
  • December – The Arctic
  • January – Asia I – China, Japan, and Korea
  • February – Asia II – The Middle East (e.g. Afganistan, Iraq, and Lebanon) and Southeast Asia (e.g. India, Thailand, and Indonesia)
  • March – Europe, including Russia
  • April – Australia
  • May – Kids Around the World


I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakite and Baba Wague Diakite. The story of a young girl from the United States who loses her tooth while visiting her family in Mali. In exchange for her tooth, the girl receives two chickens from the African tooth fairy. I Lost my Tooth in Africa is one of my five-year-old daughter’s very favorite books. Ages 3+

My Father’s Shop by Satomi Ichikawa. A humorous story about a young boy Mustafa whose father is teaching him to help sell beautiful Moraccan carpets to tourists. When Mustafa discovers a carpet with a hole in it, he convinces his father to let him keep it. Mustafa proudly throws the carpet over his head and heads to the market to show it to his friends. On his excursion through the marketplace, Mustafa unexpectedly attracts customers to his father’s shop. Ages 4+

Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams and Catherine Stock. A young Malawi boy goes to great lengths to collect enough wire to make a galimoto, a toy vehicle. With industriousness and creativity, the young boy creates an impressive toy. Ages 4+


Galimoto is a wonderful book by Karen Lynn Williams about a boy, Kondi, who is determined to make a galimoto. This story takes place in Malawi, a country in the southern part of Africa, where the national languages are English and Chichewa.

A galimoto (GAL-ee-mow-toe) evolved from the English word “motorcar” (when flipped to “car motor”) and is the Chichewa word for “car.” As we saw in the book, a galimoto refers to the ingenious toy vehicles that kids make out of old wire, sticks, and other scrap material. Children make galimotos in many countries around Africa, using their creativity to make a toy when they do not have other toys around.

Let’s make our own galimotos today!

In different corners of the room, have stations set up with different craft materials:

  • pipe cleaners
  • plastic/metal lids (from water bottles, Gatorade bottles, laundry detergent, jars, etc)
  • scrap cardboard
  • foil
  • tape
  • a hole punch

Tell your children that they can search for the materials for their galimoto just as Kondi did, walking around to the different tables and asking to use scrap material.

Once they have gathered what they need, they can use their supplies to build a toy vehicle.

Questions that you can ask your children:

  • What can be used to build the body of the car?
  • How will you make the wheels of the vehicle?
  • Will you make a driver for your car?
  • How will your galimoto be different than the toy cars you can buy at the store?

Here is a neat 1 minutes video of a young boy sharing the galimoto he made. This would be fun to share with kids after they have made their own galimotos.

You may also be interested in:

Pinterest: Africa

This entry was posted in Ages 3+, Ages 4+, Ages 5+, Ages 6+, Ages 7+, Ages 8+ and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Read Around the World Storytime: Africa

  1. Great site you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any message boards that cover the same
    topics discussed here? I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get responses from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Cheers!

  2. Donna Farrer says:

    My girls love to read about other places in the world, they have a list of places to visit! We recently read A Mango in the Hand byt Antonio Sacre, we found it ot It is a story of a young boy in Cuba who is ust old enough to pick the Mangoes for his family. It has Spanish and English illustrations which is also handy to have them learn new words! Definately looking for a few of these books on our next trip to the bookstore. Thank you so much for these book reccomendations!

  3. PragmaticMom says:

    Love this post that let’s me arm chair travel with my kids!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s