Thursday, June 1, 2017

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Apartheid in South Africa is not a topic students or teachers usually approach with humor, which makes Noah’s book unique in a school library collection.  Using both his lived experience as well as his famous trademark humor, Noah recounts his childhood in South Africa as a multiracial young person through anecdotes.  The book is structured to provide enough context between anecdotes to offer readers the necessary schema to both laugh at Noah’s jokes and begin to comprehend the horrors of the South African system of apartheid.  In doing so, this book is sure to broaden readers’ comparative perspectives on state-sponsored racism and is likely to lead a curious mind to wonder about the history of a nation they may previously only have connected to the name Nelson Mandela.  Teens may enjoy discussing Noah’s perspective on serious matters like, crime, poverty, and domestic violence, all of which are woven throughout the book.  Recommended for older teen readers as well as book clubs. --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Noah, Trevor.  Born A Crime: Stories of a South African Childhood.  New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2016.  Print.

Click here for a short discussion guide published on the blog Book Chatter.

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