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

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  471 ratings  ·  89 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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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...more
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...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
Fascinating book. I love reading about other cultures.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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...more
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...more
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...more
Judy Kahn
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
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
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
Mandy Anderson
This book was a quick read. It was written simply and in a story-telling style so it was more like having a conversation with the author and less like just reading information. I knew a bit about Maasai culture before but it's always interesting to hear it from an individual's point of view. The childhood stories about ditching responsibilities to play with friends also made me laugh because it's a reminder that all around the world, children are basically the same :) I was smiling all throughou...more
My daughter was reading this book and I picked it up. Very interesting story of a young man, a Maasai who becomes educated and now teaches at an elite private school in the Washington,DC area. In summers, he returns to Kenya and lives with his family as a Maasai warrior in the traditional way. He often takes American visitors to visit Kenya to promote his relentless pursuit of education for the children of Africa. The most interesting aspect of this book is how the young man used his Maasai trai...more
6th through 8th graders, boys and girls alike, will enjoy this page-turner memoir of a Maasai boy coming of age in Kenya and beyond. Leukuton has a short blog of supplementary materials, including two videos that will help readers get a feel for the place and the rites of becoming a Maasai warrior.
Chapter 7 describes a circumcision initial ceremony in a matter-a-fact way without being graphic.
This is a boy's book, but the theme of facing challenges in life will rope in the girls as well.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather Leipart
This book is an auto-biography of a tribal member from Kenya, and is apart of the WinterPromise Homeschool Curriculum that I purchased for my daughter. Let me just say, this book is FABULOUS! It is the very best read-aloud I have read to my daughter yet, and trust me there have been many. We were both glued to every word of this book. We later searched for youtube videos to gain more information on the blood and milk drink the Maasai enjoy. We also found some videos of the author, and were very...more
This was another book that was written for young adults that I didn't realize before I started reading it. I enjoyed the story, and the little details about being Maasai were very interesting. I wish it had been longer!

I found it really amazing that he (the author) is able to juggle being part of the American world and the Maasai world, since they are so different. I found it to be a story a lot like Kaffir Boy - without all of the tragedy, and much much shorter.

I recommend it for a very quick r...more
Another great book, the true story of a Maasi Warrior tribe in Kenya, how he became educated, and now gives back to his people. Wonderful story!
Loved it! Learned a lot and gave me a lot to think about in regards to how I'm living my own life. Joseph is an amazing man! Inspiring.
His life story is great, but it reads like a conversation he was having with someone. I wanted a bit more literary oomph.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A children's book, but one also suitable for adults as a quick read. The author is Maasai and grew up in a traditional cattle-herding family in northern Kenya, but ended up attending university in America. Now he spends half his time in America teaching at a private school, and half back home with his family. He tells the story of his childhood with the perfect balance of the personal and the cultural. Fun stories from his boyhood illustrate the main points of Maasai culture. As I read, the humo...more
This was a neat, simple book about a boy growing up as a nomad herder in northern Kenya. Life was very simple, but not without many challenges, and few opportunities to ever leave. Joseph did get the chance to go to school and then after a chance meeting with the president of Kenya he had the opportunity to come to America for school, where he had graduated and stayed to teach himself. He would return home every summer to teach others about his people and bring opportunities to his people. I enj...more
Rachel Roggenkemper
Love the book. Great story. Very good book. I totally recommend it
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