Toy Stories: Kids Across the Globe & Their Toys

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Nothing like a healthy does of perspective on Monday morning!

Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti traveled the world to capture some striking images of children surrounded by their favorite toys.

“At their age, they are pretty much all the same,” he told TODAY. “They just want to play.”

Galimberti traveled to 58 countries in 30 months, and captured young subjects and their playthings — providing clues about each child’s personality, home life and economic realities.

Let’s take a look at some of the kids in Galimberti’s new book, Toy Stories: Photos of Children from Around the World and Their Favorite Things.

Alessia Pellegrini, 5 – Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy

Alessia’s family owns one of the largest farms in their city. She loves to play with animals and helps her grandfather work on the farm.

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“She’s the child of one of my best friends,” Galimberti said of the image that started it all. “My friend asked me to photograph her child, so I went to their house and she was playing with the cows. I thought that situation was really nice…and some months later, when I had the possibility to start my trip around the world, I decided to take the same kind of photo in every country that I was going to visit.”

Arafa and Aisha Saleh Aman, 4 – Bububu, Zanzibar

Arafa and Aisha are twins and sleep in the same bed, have the same clothes, go to school together and share the same toys. They live in a two-room house, where both of the rooms are bedrooms, and the kitchen and restroom are outside. The big photo above the closet is a portrait of the formal president of Zanzibar.

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Sofia Iris Shonfeld, 4 – Bradfort on Avon, UK

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Sofia lives in a large custom-built barn and attends a private school in Bath. Her favorite toys are her doll “babies.” She loves to feed them and push them around in buggies.

Pavel Denisov, 5 – Kiev, Ukraine

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Pavel wants to be a police man and loves to play with guns. His younger brother is often handcuffed and under “Pavel’s arrest.” Pavel goes on to question his brother and accuse him of stealing cars. He only allows his brother to be the police man when other friends come over and become the “bad people.”

Samantha, 3 – Port-au-Prince, Haiti

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Samantha’s family used to live in a house in the center of the city, but after the 2010 earthquake they moved into a tent after losing their home. She only has two little dolls.

Maudy Sibanda, 3 – Kalulushi, Zambia

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Maudy lives in a hut in a small village in Zambia. She grew up playing in the street with the other children in the village, who all attend the same school. The village has no shops, restaurants or hotels, and only a few children are lucky enough to have toys. Maudy and her friends found a box full of sunglasses on the street, which quickly became their treasured toys.

Henry, 5 – Berkeley, California

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Henry and his older brothers love to play with cars all around the big house where they live with their parents in the high part of Berkeley.

Naya, 3 – Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica

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Naya doesn’t have many toys – just has few small kitchen items – but never tires of playing with them. By using mud and grass from the garden, she pretends to bake some cakes for her older sister. She dreams of managing a restaurant and she’s sure that tourists will love it.

Shotaro, 5 – Tokyo, Japan

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Shotaro lives in a big house with his parents, grandparents and baby sister. As for playing with his sister, he said, “Unfortunately, I can’t play with her, she’s only 1 years old!” Shotaro loves baseball and dreams of becoming a professional player.

For more from Galimberti, visit his official website.

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Photo credit: Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE

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