Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna

Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna


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Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton gives American kids a firsthand look at growing up in Kenya as a member of a tribe of nomads whose livelihood centers on the raising and grazing of cattle. Readers share Lekuton's first encounter with a lion, the epitome of bravery in the warrior tradition. They follow his mischievous antics as a young Maasai cattle herder, coming-of-age initiation, boarding school escapades, soccer success, and journey to America for college. Lekuton's riveting text combines exotic details of nomadic life with the universal experience and emotions of a growing boy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780792251255
Publisher: National Geographic Society
Publication date: 08/05/2003
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 759,018
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.58(d)
Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton is a Maasai tribesman who grew up on the savanna of northern Kenya. He teaches eighth grade social studies in Langley, Virginia and holds a master's degree in International Education Policy from Harvard University. Each summer he brings a group of students and parents to Kenya to work on development projects that help his people.

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Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Jayson_F More than 1 year ago
Hello, I'm writing a book review about the book I read 'Facing the Lion : Growing up Maasai on the African Savanna' for my English class. This book was one of the most interesting book I read, and I don't say that to a lot of books. When I read books I usually hate them, but this book has touched me in a way and has related to me. The book began with a dramatic opening of the main character Lekuton's first encounter with a lion. The book covered his life from birth through out his life experiences. Where he lived his life dealing with two cultures, his own Maa culture and the American culture. He had experienced thousands of miles of traveling, but never had left his own culture. I enjoyed reading the book a lot because I felt like I was growing up with him. The book was a simple memoir, but it had a strong story telling behind it. So I recommend this book for everyone because it is just that amazing to read.
sara_k on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Facing The Lion is a slim volume of 123 pages and is easily read in an evening. Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton grew up in a Maasai tribe in northern Kenya. He was chosen as his family's token child to attend school. His tenacity, intelligence, and spirit brought him contact with Daniel Arap Moi and opportunities for further education. In Facing the Lion, he tells some wonderful stories of his childhood and time as a student in America which give us a glimpse of how life in a Maasai nomadic group works and what is both difficult and wonderful about that life.This would be an excellent addition to any elementary or middle school library.
sjmccreary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is, simply, the story of a boy who grew up as a poor "nomadic kid" in northern Kenya. The Kenyan government required even the nomadic tribal people to send one child from each family to school, and in his family it ended being Joseph who went. He tells of the culture shock he suffered in his own country upon coming into contact with students from other parts of the country, especially the wealthy students from the city. He eventually came to the United States for college and stayed to teach at a private school in Virginia. Each summer, he returns to his home in Kenya, taking groups of American students with him. Several people have commented on the fact that, even as a child, he was expected to walk many miles - sometimes for days - between school and home. And the fact that he was forbidden to wear his traditional tribal clothing while at school - forced, instead, into a Western school uniform and given a Western name. But his familiarity and comfort in both cultures has enabled him to bridge a gap between low status African tribe and educated America. (Even in Kenya, his tribe was of low status.) His main goal seems to be to encourage people to accept others for who they are, not who we expect them to be based on their clothing or appearance or accent. I loved the anecdote in the epilogue about his contact with the American tourists while in traditional dress at home for the summer. In fact, I loved the entire book. It is short and doesn't take long to read - took me only about an hour - and I found myself wishing there was more. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book described the struggles of a masai child, and the success that he has received in return. The book starts out with Joseph running away from a lion, which is considered cowardly. He strives to prove that he is not a coward so he pays extra attention to every task he is assigned. The law requires one child to go to school so he lies about his age and makes connections. This Book made me think about how easy it is to make connections. It made me realize that I have much potential and should use this school as a resource to expand my network.