Childhood in South Africa

Today I have a book by Trevor Noah about his childhood in South Africa.  It is an adaptation from his adult novel.  I had absolutely no idea how powerful this book would be.  Nor did I understand before reading it, what Trevor Noah went through being biracial in a country where his birth was literally a crime.  I handed it straight to my kids after reading – did not pass Go – it was that good.

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Title: It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crimechildhood in South Africa Trevor Noah born a crime

Author: Trevor Noah

Target: Grades 5 and up

What this book is about:

This book is an adaptation for young readers of Trevor Noah’s adult book by the same title.  It is a series of stories from his childhood that illustrate the horrors of apartheid, the role poverty plays in limiting opportunities and his resilience in the face of segregation and domestic abuse.  It is also a love letter to his mom, as he recognizes what she gifted to him in his ability to navigate the world.

Why I love this book:

  • While the themes in this book are quite serious, Trevor Noah is able to provide some laugh out loud moments.  There are two chapters that had me crying laughing, so his signature style and personality translate from tv to print.  This humor and the fact that we know he turned out ok is probably what makes the tough stuff in the story manageable for kids.
  • I thought I had a basic understanding of apartheid in South Africa, but I didn’t.  The book delves into the different tribes represented in the country and how their languages and customs separated them.  Trevor talks about how these differences were exploited to keep the country under the thumb of apartheid.  He shares how the government used their racist practices to keep the black people poor and undereducated.  And he does this with a series of personal stories that will captivate readers.

Who this book is for:

This book is for any kid who wants to understand the injustices in the world.  This is a fabulous pick when your son or daughter needs to select a nonfiction book for class.  It is also a compelling selection for a classroom read.  Fans of I Am Malala will really enjoy this book.

Final thoughts:

I very much appreciated the “Apartheid History” at the end of the book.  It puts a lot of the information in one place, talks succinctly about how apartheid ended and discusses the rise of Mandela.  It also shares the similarities and differences of apartheid in South Africa and slavery in the United States. 

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime.  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.