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Photos of Children From Around the World With Their Most Prized Possessions

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Chiwa – Mchinji, Malawi

Shot over a period of 18 months, Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti‘s project Toy Stories compiles photos of children from around the world with their prized possesions—their toys. Galimberti explores the universality of being a kid amidst the diversity of the countless corners of the world, saying, “at their age, they are pretty all much the same; they just want to play.”

But it’s how they play that seemed to differ from country to country. Galimberti found that children in richer countries were more possessive with their toys and that it took time before they allowed him to play with them (which is what he would do pre-shoot before arranging the toys), whereas in poorer countries he found it much easier to quickly interact, even if there were just two or three toys between them.

There were similarites too, especially in the functional and protective powers the toys represented for their proud owners. Across borders, the toys were reflective of the world each child was born into—economic status and daily life affecting the types of toys children found interest in. Toy Stories doesn’t just appeal in its cheerful demeanor, but it really becomes quite the anthropological study.

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Stella – Montecchio, Italy

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Pavel – Kiev, Ukraine


Arafa & Aisha – Bububu, Zanzibar

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Cun Zi Yi – Chongqing, China

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Bethsaida – Port au Prince, Haiti

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Orly-Brownsville,Texas

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Botlhe – Maun, Botswana

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Watcharapom – Bangkok, Thailand


Alessia – Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy

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Norden – Massa, Morocco

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Julia – Tirana, Albania

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Keynor – Cahuita, Costa Rica

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Shaira – Mumbai, India

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Tangawizi – Keekorok, Kenya


  • IrishYank2

    When I was a kid I was infatuated with toy guns, camoflage, etc. My grandfather was a WWII and Korean War vet and I emluated his experience. In no way am I a violent person in my adult life. To assume that becuase a small boy likes toy guns makes him a brainless killer you should then also assume that little girls who like dolls are guaranteed to taxidermy people and dress them up/play with them later in life. You’re making bad, uneducated, shallow assumptions about humans and childhood.

  • IrishYank2

    You’re mixed up. The kid with the toy guns is form the Ukraine. The Texas kid has dinosaurs.

  • Trillian Kugelblitz Gently

    You might actually get a better idea of why a kid would have guns in Kiev if you knew anything about anything outside of the US.

  • ozarksgal

    I’m pretty sure the “no guns in school” is a universal rule that has been around LONG before President Obama (1st OR 2nd term).

  • ozarksgal

    Lou just said what the mother said. He never made any assumptions about Brownsville OR Mexico. Reading comprehension is fundamental.

  • MrsPoppins

    Love this!

  • MrsPoppins

    No, I ran around without shoes on throughout my childhood!

  • MrsPoppins

    You read a lot into that comment, that the author did not write or even allude to. Your added information is interesting, but providing it without judgmentally misrepresenting another reader would make reading it a nicer experience.

  • MrsPoppins

    That was really inappropriate. Not only are you making assumptions about a person based on only one thing that feeds into your stereotypes, but for Christ’s sake, you are discussing an actual child publicly! You’re not alone on the Intertubes you know, and his relatives, and friends, and even he might read what you wrote. Get a lesson on decorum and good manners.

    BTW, every man I know played with guns when they were boys and the vast majority of them never became soldiers, wife abusers, or serial killers.

  • Guest

    BTW, every man I know played with guns when they were boys and the vast majority of them never became soldiers, wife abusers, or serial killers.

  • MrsPoppins

    People, this photo essay is not about which children have more compared to other children. You do not learn enough from one photo to know very much about the child and his or her family. What you are looking at are children from a wide variety of countries/cultures proudly displaying their most prized possessions as they pose with them. Don’t rob them of their dignity by stereotyping them and diminishing what they have that they love!

  • MrsPoppins

    Then you missed the point, and have a limited knowledge with a narrow view on human behavior.

  • Fagget

    All of yall are Faggets

  • Stella Shepard

    Americans own more guns than any other nationality on this planet.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country

  • Mary M. Nordskog

    I noticed the children from the far east, China and India, both had games and things they need to think and use their minds to play with…coincidence? Parents get a clue. Some toys will inspire passivity in children, others will require them to use their minds and act…taking mental initiative…

  • Jonathan

    Have you met any police lately? The profession itself has their share of sociopaths and before you go on a tirade of self-righteous indignation (too late), it is not a normal fixation for a kid to have so many replicas of guns, regardless of his interest in future employment in a desired profession. Sorry, I’ll bet Jeffrey Dahmer was a cute kid, too. I’m not implying Pavel is a serial killer, but it’s rather an obsessive fixation for a kid that age. The sheer number is unsettling.

  • Dudalinka Dudalinkova

    I live in US and I know far too many boys with more weapon-toys than Pavel and with number of electronic deices playing games like Duty Call, not to mention the obsession of quite few generations of Mine Craft. I call it Mind Crab because the innocent figures do kill innocent animals and people, animals to eat, people for pleasure! Pavel is like an angel compare to those millions whose minds are already set on “killing is a pleasure” mode!

  • Vanessa

    Ginger, You are so very right about this!!!! I do mission work in Guatemala and MANY of the children I do outreach with do not have shoes or even enough food to eat daily, but they have HUGE hearts and full lives!! A different kind of happiness!!

  • Vanessa

    Leona IDK what kind of pics you’re looking to obtain and I may have even stumbled across this article too late to help you out, but I have LOTS of pictures that are similiar but unposed of Children from GUA. If you’re interested please contact me vbayouangel at aol dot com

  • Vanessa

    Melanee, I could get you some information on how to get toys to children in GUA!! I go there every December to distribute toys to children such as the ones pictured!! I loved seeing these images :) vbayouangel at aol dot com

  • Kim Rix Photography

    This is a stunning, beautiful and touching project, that really portrays the beauty
    of childhood. Child and baby portraits are always remarkable, I love capturing
    their innocence and natural expressions.

    Toys are a great way to entertain and engage children in photography. However, you
    have managed to capture so much more than child portrait photography. You have
    created a project that expands across the world and through life stages into
    adulthood. What’s so precious about these images is that all the children see
    and value are toys.

  • Unlicensed Dremel

    Actually, I have less issue with him being a normal citizen who likes guns than an aspiring policeman who likes guns – but both are ok/good.

  • Unlicensed Dremel

    Amen and hear hear. In short, SephX is an idiot.

  • Unlicensed Dremel

    Wow, you’re a special kind of stupid, Victoria. He’s not a budding sharpshooter. There are no tactical rifles, there. Although there would certainly be nothing wrong with that. Those are handguns, shotguns, and short-range CQB rifles. Clearly, this kid will be a CQB specialist (close quarters battle) – a warrior. Soldier, perhaps. Perhaps just a good citizens prepared to overthrow a despotic government (Kyev – ring a bell Victoria?). Any way you slice it, kudos and good on him and his parents. Fine job.

  • Unlicensed Dremel

    You got a point? Besides the one on your head?

  • Unlicensed Dremel

    You’re a crappy parent, to be sure. Nothing wrong with guns. They are just a tool.

  • Stacy Jones

    I personally LOVE this! Its a shame some so called adults have to look for a reason to complain & start drama, to those people go find something to do

  • Nitia Cheveallier

    Actually… If you really did play the game MineCraft. It is a game of survival, Building, and creativity. There have been schools that have used the game MineCraft to aid in math b/c the game uses a very specific block system. Go google it “Mincraft in school”
    And Those “people” they are killing in MineCraft? Are Zombies… yes monsters that are out to get them… stalkers that come out at night.
    Now I have no defense for Call of Duty.. mainly bc of it’s one on one mode…. where they do go and kill each other players for fun.. But then that is every single first person shooter that is out there on the market.

    Please know your games before making accusations.

  • jenct

    I do the same for my daughter. I only buy her educational toys, or puzzles, or boardgames. I finally gave in and got a Leappad, but only get the word games, biology stuff, Toy story logic puzzles..they have amazing educational games that make learning so fun for them..but she’s only allowed to play that for an hour a day. There’s no reason they can’t learn and have fun at the same time, I’d much rather have that than have her rot in front of the TV or playing a Barbie video game that does nothing for her smarts.

  • Dudalinka Dudalinkova

    Dear Nitia, I know MY games very well. “Mind Crab” have been residing in my house for quite few years now. And I do play each game my-self just to get to know it and to know what my boys are exposed to. There is very little creativity in the game as you are still following rules and using the limited options of the game. Enough the so called “monsters” the players can kill each other with no remorse. Now there is a “Hunger games” room where the players kill each other. Any game that “kills” creates the thinking path that killing is OK. You need to know what you defending better.

  • Fateh Belfihedj

    ohhh god thank you every thing you gave to us çà me touche vraiment spécialement the child of kenya botsawana the smile for every things god bless them <3 <3

  • IrishYank2

    And you can’t spell

  • Teresa Jeanette Schulte

    I wrote plays and “fanfiction” even as a very, very young child and used my Barbies to act them out. Don’t disregard imagination as something to develop. Video games have been proven to increase hand-eye coordination and improve strategic thinking. The problem only arises when a child plays video games too much. Just like in every other aspect of life, it’s only in excess that these recreations become detrimental. We should provide children with a well-rounded background and education so they might master each facet of their development. But that’s just my opinion…

  • Teresa Jeanette Schulte

    It used to be! Lol.

  • Teresa Jeanette Schulte

    It’s always telling of people’s naivete and ignorance of the reality of the world when they single out a child like this. I knew as I was scrolling down through the pictures that this child would be touted as a future killer, etc. We elevate civil servants such as police officers as protectors and a line of defense against criminality. We view soldiers as heroes of liberty whose sacrifices provide for our way of life. Heaven forbid a child idealize this and play pretend. It’s certainly healthier than the accepted practice of girls playing “princess…”

  • Loretta Damon

    Interesting reading this morning on the comments. Everyone is an authority on how people should live to be better people, but no one mentions the fact that God has been removed from society as a whole; schools, meetings, discussions, ways to build character and morals. I’m talking about the God of the Holy Bible, for there is no other God to me. :) Have a great day and remember, God loves you!

  • Kevin Connelly

    Really well done. I’m not a huge fan of Tangawizi and Chiwa, I think they’re a bit disconnected and I don’t like the lighting very much but other than that very nice.

  • Nicabugodonossor

    And Alessia has an obsession for shovels (that means that she wants to bury people – be aware!), and Shaira has an obsession for games (that means that she must be a very manipulative girl) and Watcharapom has an obsession for motorcycles (that means that he is a rebel youth, and Orly has an obession for dinosaurs (which means that he wants to destroy the human kind) and Tangawiza and Bothle only plays with monkeys (which means that they want to be monkeys, so the world is racist).

  • Nicabugodonossor

    I’m a girl and I played with guns and I didn’t become a soldier, a husband abuser or a serial killer.

  • Nicabugodonossor

    Certainly there are poor and rich people in Botswana, like there are poor and rich people in Mexico, Chile and Romania, you idiot.

  • William Brandr

    lol

  • Unassigned

    This is pretty much my 4 year old now. I grew up shooting pop cans with a pellet gun, owning my first shotgun at 7 years old and never caused anybody a bit of harm. I grew up playing “war” and the like. It’s called being a kid.
    If anything, it taught me more respect and discipline than anything else back then.