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Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna
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Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  666 ratings  ·  111 reviews
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!
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by National Geographic Children's Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,261)
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Jennifer Lavoie
I bought this book for my classroom but also because it fits my Around the World bookclub here on Goodreads. It's a memoir from a boy who grew up in the Maasai tribe in Kenya. Though short I loved the book because it gives readers - especially kids - an idea of what it's like to live a very different life.

The Maasai tribe, specifically the Ariaal which Joseph is part of, is nomadic and their livelihood comes from cattle. They are the most integral part of their daily lives. Most of their diet c

A pretty interesting book detailing a boy's life growing up as a Maasai in Kenya. More suited to children than adults, though I didn't discover this until after I'd finished the book. It felt a little stunted and suddenly ended - I wanted to know more - but then the author explains that they deliberately cut off at the end of the childhood years because he wanted to write the book for children, to show them what life is like growing up in a different part of the world. The author faces some hard
Kelli G
Kelli Gillis
English 5
8 April 2013
Facing the Lion
Facing the Lion by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton is an autobiography about his life growing up in Africa and making his way to the United States. He grew up raising cattle, but was sent to school in his young teens because the government issued that at least one child from every nomadic family must be sent to school. His school was far away and had to walk there with a group of kids; he started soccer and met President Moi who helped him with
National Geographic published this memoir of a poor nomadic Maasai boy in Kenya who, against all odds, went to school, made friends with the president of Kenya, graduated from high school, and was educated in the United States at St. Lawrence University and then Harvard. He became a teacher at a prestigious private high school in Maclean, Virginia, during which period of his life he spent half his time in the US and half living the nomadic life with his tribe in Kenya. The book covers his life t ...more
Richard Knight
A brief, enjoyable book for kids and adults. You can read it in a day. What I enjoy most about this story about an African boy who becomes a man (through circumcision! ) and then travels to the US is the voice. It's calm, informative, and direct. There's wisdom and life lessons on every page. Check it out.
Laila Satele
This extraordinary memoir of a poor boy from Kenya really gave me thoughts about the real world around us. I didn't know how traditional some countries are and how different they are from America. The way that they live their normal lives versus the way that we live our every day lives shocked me. If the children are being disobedient, the parents will call the pinching man to make sure that the kids will know better next time. The responsibilities the children have put me in shock as well. For ...more
Very interesting autobiography about an African teacher who now teaches in Northern Va but goes back home every year and takes his friends/students with him. He is making a difference in the community and has very enlightening observations on Africans and Americans. This is a quick and educational read!
Sean Saldana
This (in my opion) was a REALLY good book......It tells a story of a boy who grows up as a part of the Masai tribe...his WHOLE life depends on cows..... when he turns 5(I think) he HAS to go to school.....And his journey begins there
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Gail Owen
Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton is serving his second term in the Kenyan Parliment. This book is the story of his childhood. It starts with his nomadic wandering as a guardian of his family's cattle. He is chosen to attend school in order to fulfill the legal requirements for his family. The book records his life throughout his schooling in Kenyan and gives the reader a glimpse of his life as a teacher in Northern Virginia. It would be interesting to have a sequel of his time from then until the presen ...more
Joey Rizzo
Facing the lion buy Joseph Lemaloi is an auto biography. It is about a young mans journey growing up in Kenya. He grew up from a young age raising cattle, and was sent to a school in his mid teenage years because the government issued at least on child from a family be sent to a school. He ended up Making tons of friends and actually got to meet the president of Kenya. When he graduated high school he went on to the united states and went to St. Lawrence university for college. When he finishes ...more
Fascinating book. I love reading about other cultures.
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Adama Fall
pages read:34 poages
question: sometimes we are pulled toward one or two characters in the story. we identify with them and feel symphaty for them. with wich characters do you identify in the book, and why do you beleive you identify with them
i really like this book cause i have seen a lot of similitude with my lifestyle when i was young. the first characters, i identify is the lion. i come from africa, specially in senegal. we have many lions in senegal. lion is the symbol of bravery and pride
Hussein Mohamed
my outside reading book is called facing the lion by Joseph Lemasolia Lekuto and Herman viola.This book is about a boy who wants to get education to support his family. Joseph grow up with poor familly.Joseph had two brothers and his mom but his dad died when he was young.Joseph mom decide to send him to Nakuru to go school .His family had to sale cow to pay for his school and Joseph went to school in city called Nakuru in kenya where some wealthy people and poor people that goes to school.

I d
Chloe Mccormac
This book was really good. I liked learning about the Maasai in Africa. Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton is an extraordinary person and it was really interesting to get to learn about what it was like growing up in the Maasai in Africa. It was a really good book for me personally because I'm going to Africa during the summer so it was great to get some background knowledge on the different type of life style that people have in other parts of the world. But even if your not going to Africa it's still a ...more
Johnny Brooks
Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton is from Northern Kenya. He was born into the Ariaal subgroup of the Maasai, and lived a nomadic lifestyle. This book tells his story from birth, where he immediately began his life as a nomad, till completing university in the U.S.A.

A fascinating story filled with lots of insight into the Maasai culture. It was written with a younger reader in mind, and is truly a very easy read. Joseph will not win any literary awards for this book, or at least should not, but he is ade
Have you ever been face to face with a lion, scared he's going to eat you for dinner??

This is the true story of Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton who grew up as a Masai warrior in northern Kenya. His tribe is nomadic, which means they move their houses to where the food is plentiful. Growing up in Kenya is totally different than growing up in the United States. Joseph's family lives in a hut made of sticks and cow dung, and they survive on a diet based on cow milk. Cows are very sacred to the Masai and t
Kai S.
Facing the Lion is a great book. Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton explained what he went through as a kid really well. After reading this book it made me stop and think about how grateful I need to be. Sometimes he didn't even have a place to sleep, he had to sleep in trees. This book also made me realize that you need to take every chance you get, to show what you can do. Joseph almost dropped out of school to take care of his family. Growing up Joseph was really grateful.
This book was on several "must read" young adult non-fiction book lists and I understand why. Leukuton gives a very concise, yet highly descriptive account of growing up as a member of the Maasai tribe. He provides a wealth of information about tribal structure, roles, responsibilities, milestones and daily life, and never lets the reader forget his pride in who he is and where he came from. Most striking is his drive to become educated. It's easy to forget that part of this world does not forma ...more
The main character of Facing The Lion is Joseph Lemasolai- Lekuton. The problem of this story was that the lions was trying to kill all the cows. Also they were brought up different to. The more cows a man had the more respect he gets. When grownup's saw kids doing wrong they were able to disaplin them . There was a man called the Pinching Man , who pinches kids when they were bad. He was old with wet stickey hair. His fingernails were very long and dirty. Everybody was scared of him. My favorit ...more
Dec 24, 2012 A rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults,kids 11+
Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna. EXCELLENT! Inspiring book about a young Maasai who lives comfortably across three cultures -- an easy read appropriate for 6th grade and up-- passages about the Massai diet (blood and milk) and some cultural traditions (circumcision) require some adult perspective for the average American kid.I read the paperback, which would have benefited from photos and maps that are included in other editions. This reminds me of the Claasic DK title ...more
Facing the lions, by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton is about a person who did not have many opportunities growing up as a child. Even though Joseph did not have many opportunities in his life he still lived life like a normal person in life. Then when I look at life im probly going to live the same life as he has, like having my own kid games, go to school, move far away for college, and maybe get lost at the airport.
Tristin Snyder
I read this for an english project. I enjoyed the book even though it wasn't about what I thought it was going to be. It was more about his struggle with bullying and defferences while growing up rather than his schooling and religion. It definately put a personal face on the subject though by going through his whole childhood with him and showing us how successful he was after his struggles. The book has made me realize that the things that I say as jokes may not be taken as a joke to others. I ...more
This is a book I stumbled across while shelving one day. It's a very simple, $7 children's book, but contains quite a punch. Everyone knows the Maasai: if not by name, by their trademark red clothing and ear gauges. This simple memoir was written by the youngest son of a respected Maasai family. Thanks to Kenyan law that required every family to send at least one of their children to school, Joseph recieved an education. The book discusses his desire to learn and grow as a person, while keeping ...more
This book is a great story about what it's like to grow up as a nomad African. The hardship that the tribes endure is inspirational, puts things in perspective. The difficulties that Joseph Lekuton faces to get an education and how much he appreciates it shines through every page of the book. Great read!
Interesting quick little read about one boy's perspective on growing up in the Maasai culture. It is very fascinating to me being that we live in Kenya and the Maasai culture is frequently pointed out positively for preserving their traditions and ways in the face of modern society.
This feels a bit like cheating as it was so short and intended for youth, but it was a delightful look at a Maasai boy who grew up, went to college in the US and now works on helping his people. One of my sons read it in a high school world lit course he did. Definitely a good read.
Ms. Myers
The book "facing the lion" is about Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton growing up and making his way through school and America. This book is very interesting because he shares his memories of himself growing up in kenya on the African savanna.this biography was written by Joseph himself. Joseph was the only main character really, but other people from students to warriors was in at one point and then left. Most of the story was in the African savanna then America. This book was a overall happy book. I r ...more
Kathryn Haggstrom
Joseph leads two completely different lives. It was incredible to read his story and learn about his balance between his two selves. Even if he didn't conquer the lion, he has traveled far from his nomadic village, accomplishing more than I can even fathom.
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