Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton

      Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna

Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton

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.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-12. This simple memoir is the extraordinary story of a poor nomadic boy in Kenya who literally travels across the world but never abandons home. Lekuton grew up in Kenya's poorest tribe, herding cows and playing in trees and hyena holes before he entered a missionary boarding school and went to college in the U.S. Now he teaches in Virginia, but he has never lost his Maasai roots, and he returns home to help his people several months a year. Looking back without romanticism or self-pity, he remembers how it was: the joy and excitement, the constant hunger and moving, and the traditions, including the circumcision ceremony that made him a man. The Cinderella theme begins in Kenya where he's the shabby kid accepted at a fancy Nairobi high school. Later he travels to his college interview in a cattle truck with the cows. What gives this short, readable book its power is Lekuton's authoritative, intimate view of now and then. Hazel Rochman
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"Every home should have this book."

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