Skip to content

Facing The Lion Joseph Lekuton Essay Prompt

FACING THE LION: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna

Joseph Lekuton, Author, Herman Viola, With , with Herman Viola. National Geographic $15.95 (127p) ISBN 978-0-7922-5125-5

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.)

Reviewed on: 10/27/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003

Paperback - 112 pages - 978-0-7362-3133-6

Library Binding - 127 pages - 978-0-7922-8328-7

Prebound-Sewn - 128 pages - 978-1-4176-8960-6

Paperback - 127 pages - 978-0-7922-7297-7

Prebound-Glued - 127 pages - 978-1-61383-731-3

Show other formats

FORMATS

Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna3.82 · Rating details ·  984 Ratings  ·  147 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 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 initiationJoseph 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....more

Paperback, 128 pages

Published October 11th 2005 by National Geographic Children's Books (first published January 1st 2003)