Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna

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Overview

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 around the raising of cattle. Here's a fascinating introduction to a vibrant culture few outsiders ever see!

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Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna

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Overview

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 around the raising of cattle. Here's a fascinating introduction to a vibrant culture few outsiders ever see!

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Once a warrior, always a warrior. Facing the Lion describes Lekuton's extraordinary passage between worlds and his continuing effort to hold the two in balance. — Elizabeth Ward
Publishers Weekly
This involving, anecdotal autobiography sketches the childhood of Lekuton, who grew up in northern Kenya, a member of a subgroup within the Maa culture known as the Ariaal. He explains that the beloved cows dictate where their nomadic "village" wanders: "If the grass runs out or the water dries up, we move. If there's better grazing land somewhere else, we move." Articulate and likable, the author easily ushers readers into his primitive yet colorful culture as he vividly describes aspects of his people's way of life. His topics range from the quotidian (the practice of drinking milk mixed with cow's blood; the youngsters' responsibility for the herd's calves; the role of the "pinching man," who metes out punishment to village children) to the momentous (the elaborate circumcision ritual that young men undergo on the path to becoming a "warrior"). Following the government's dictate that one boy in every nomadic family go to school, Lekuton attended a school run by American missionaries (and, depending on where his family was living at the time, walked up to 40 miles home at vacation time), went on to enroll in an elite boarding school in Nakuru, received a scholarship at St. Lawrence University in New York and currently teaches at a private school near Washington, D.C.-and, during school vacations, guides American visitors through his Maasai home. An intriguing portrait of a remarkable life and a culture little known to most American readers. Photos not seen by PW. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The author of this true story is a member of the Maasai tribe. The book follows his life as a member of this nomadic tribe. The descriptions of day-to-day life and cultural practices are quite vivid. It is a good introduction for those who know very little about the Maasai. Lekuton is sent to the missionary school because each family is required to send at least one of their children. He adapts to the education quite quickly and begins to learn Western ways, as well as gaining a new perspective on his own culture. It is interesting to read about his living style within two different cultural worlds. He describes how he acts and dresses in a certain way for his teachers, but returns to his traditional ways when he is at home. It is difficult to imagine how he handles such extreme transitions. The story follows Lekuton into adulthood and his journey to university in America. While Lekuton's story is original, the lessons and values he described are important to all children who are struggling to obtain their goals. An excellent read for those interested in different cultures. 2003, National Geographic Society,
— Caroline Haugen
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792283287
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,412,930
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 8.51 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Lamsolai Lekuton grew up in a nomadic Maasai village in northern Kenya and came to the United States in his late teens to pursue his education. He taught at The Langley School in northern Virginia and is actively involved in community development projects in rural Kenya. Through his work with several nonprofit organizations, Lekuton has provided more than a hundred nomadic children with education scholarships, established the Karare Boarding School, and constructed a water system delivering clean water to a dozen villages in northern Kenya. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. from St. Lawrence University and a master’s in international education policy from Harvard. He is the youngest recipient of Kenya’s Order of the Grand warrior, a presidential award given for exemplary service to the country. Lekuton divides his time between Kenya and the Washington D.C. area.

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Preface

Everything you do in our culture, you are preparing for the next stage. Everything you do in life is preparing for the next challenge.

From a green and beautiful village on the side of a small hill in Kenya comes this firsthand account of a boy'' journey to manhood. Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton is a Maasai tribesman brought up in the nomadic way of life. The only child in his family to go to school, Lemasolai is torn between the traditional ways of his family and the western ways taught by his teachers. In his struggle to balance two cultures, he learns to apply lessons learned in each of his worlds to the problems of the other.

Personal, moving, and often funny, this modern memoir is a close look at a traditional culture and a satisfying tale of a young man's journey of discovery.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

4 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2014

    Facing the Lion: Growing up Maasai on the African Savanna, writt

    Facing the Lion: Growing up Maasai on the African Savanna, written by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton, is a unique memoir about about a boy’s journey of reaching out to a new and unexplored way of life.  He goes from growing up on the African savanna to an American University.  Lekuton and his family are known as nomads.  A nomad is a person or group of people who move continuously from one place to another, never establishing a real home. While keeping his nomadic culture close with him, Luketon attempts to learn a whole new way of life.  The author does a good job of explaining the particular aspects of his culture while explaining the differences living as nomad.  Also the author uses a unique story outline to display the sequence of events.  Although this memoir has many great aspects, it’s lack descriptions at times which may leave the reader wanting more. Despite this I recommend this book to teens or older because of the lesson it teaches you about reaching out to learn more than your own culture.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2009

    A wonderful and engaging story...

    This was a wonderful and engaging story about the experiences of childhood in an African culture, which allowed me to envision this event from a perspective different from my own. The author gave me an opportunity to learn about his environment and the influences that defined his cultural experiences. I think it is a fantastic book for young children to understand that the experiences of childhood is unique within every culture.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2014

    Jacob

    Get wat u want kissing u.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2014

    Sun

    No idek who that is

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

    R

    This books sucks like dick its tye worst book ever i dont know how ppl read this and like but this is the worst book in history

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2013

    To heidi

    Sure babe

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    To Naomi

    Write the story! Please! And you can check out my fanfic at result one if you want to. Thanks! From sisi

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2014

    Daphne

    Well well. We have two lovebirds here, hm? *she smirks smugly*

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Facing the lion         This is a very will empower





    Facing the lion




            This is a very will empowering story about a young boy facing the challenges from his long childhood.
    This story is a book Facing the Lion. The book starts with Lection, the author.  
    He was a young boy who lived in Kenya with the native tribe.
    He went to school under Kenya law and eventually moved up to a more qualified school.
    \in his stay there he became very good friends with the president of Kenya.
    Then he went to a bank in Kenya to earn money, and when he was there he got recruited to a school in America on full scholarship.  
    He was scared of America because Lection herd rumors that in America it was dangerous.
    He was brought by two girls to his dorm and realized it wasn't a terrible place.
    He graduated the school and got his masters in teaching math.
     He was accepted to Harvard to get his doctors degree.
    After that he got a job teaching math at a prestigious privet school.
    I liked this book and would recommend it for adults 30 and up.
    I think they would be fascinated by this novel and the accomplishments of a boy from Kenya. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Anonomous

    I am reading this with my 7th grade class! It is just Amazing! I love it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2013

    Great book

    Great book o its wonderful you are going to love it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2012

    5 star book

    Best book ever i warmed my heart seeing what joseph had to
    go throuhg walking miles almost every day barefoot that is why we have to appreciate what we have

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

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