Just Imagine

Warrior Boy

Authored by Virginia Clay
Published by Chicken House

Ben lives in London with his Mum, a conservation film-maker, who has looked after him alone since the death of his Maasai father. One day gets to chance to travel to Kenya to meet the Maasai half of his family; can be become a Warrior like his father before him?

This is a coming of age story, which charts the journey of Ben in Kenya, as he discovers more about his Maasai heritage and the Savannah of his ancestors. He meets his cousin Kip, and together they set out on a seven-day trip complete with challenges, to enable him to prove his worth as a warrior. However, the trip throws up more that the planned challenges, as Kip and Ben seek to survive the African Savannah, its animals and most dangerous of all – poachers intent on supplying the illegal ivory trade. Will what Ben has learnt in London equip him for such an adventure?

I loved the descriptions in this book which beautifully capture the Kenyan Savannah and the animals, along with the Maasai tribe themselves. It brought alive the colours, the smells and sounds of the landscape and  the Maasai way of life and it was almost as if you were standing there looking at everything alongside Ben.The characters were well-written and I found myself being able to relate to Ben, his Mum and Kip through the use of dialogue which helped move on the story.

I would recommend this as a class or guided read and it would work well alongside curriculum on Africa, particularly Kenya, but also it explores themes such as family, belonging and what it means to be different, along with conservation issues. I enjoyed reading it and would recommend for older juniors.