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It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime
Cover of It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime
It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime
Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers)
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The host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, shares his personal story and the injustices he faced while growing up half black, half white in South Africa under and after apartheid in this New...
The host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, shares his personal story and the injustices he faced while growing up half black, half white in South Africa under and after apartheid in this New...
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  • The host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, shares his personal story and the injustices he faced while growing up half black, half white in South Africa under and after apartheid in this New York Times bestselling young readers' adaptation of his adult memoir.
     
    “A piercing reminder that every mad life—even yours—could end up a masterpiece." —JASON REYNOLDS, New York Times bestselling author

    We do horrible things to one another because we don’t see the person it affects. . . . We don’t see them as people.

    Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, shares his remarkable story of growing up in South Africa with a black South African mother and a white European father at a time when it was against the law for a mixed-race child to exist. But he did exist—and from the beginning, the often-misbehaved Trevor used his keen smarts and humor to...

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    I was nine years old when my mother threw me out of a moving car.

    It happened on a Sunday. I know it was on a Sunday because we were coming home from church, and every Sunday in my childhood meant church. We never missed church. My mother was—and still is—a deeply religious woman. Very Christian. Like indigenous peoples around the world, black South Africans adopted the religion of our colonizers. By "adopt," I mean it was forced on us.

    My childhood involved church, or some form of church, at least four nights a week. Tuesday night was the prayer meeting. Wednesday night was Bible study. Thursday night was youth church. Friday and Saturday we had off. Then on Sunday we went to church. Three churches, to be precise. The reason we went to three churches was because my mom said each church gave her something different. The first church offered jubilant praise of the Lord. The second church offered deep analysis of the scripture, which my mom loved. The third church offered passion and catharsis; it was a place where you truly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit inside you. Completely by coincidence, as we moved back and forth between these churches, I noticed that each one had its own distinct racial makeup: Jubilant church was mixed church. Analytical church was white church. And passionate, cathartic church, that was black church.

    Mixed church was Rhema Bible Church. Rhema was one of those huge, supermodern, suburban megachurches. The pastor, Ray McCauley, was an ex-bodybuilder with a big smile and the personality of a cheerleader. Pastor Ray had competed in the 1974 Mr. Universe competition. He placed third. The winner that year was Arnold Schwarzenegger. Every week, Ray would be up onstage working really hard to make Jesus cool. There was arena-style seating and a rock band jamming with the latest Christian contemporary pop. Everyone sang along, and if you didn't know the words that was okay because they were all right up there on the Jumbotron for you. It was Christian karaoke, basically. I always had a blast at mixed church.

    White church was Rosebank Union in Sandton, a very white and wealthy part of Johannesburg. I loved white church because I didn't actually have to go to the main service. My mom would go to that, and I would go to the youth side, to Sunday school. In Sunday school we got to read cool stories. Noah and the flood was obviously a favorite; I had a personal stake there. But I also loved the stories about Moses parting the Red Sea, David slaying Goliath, Jesus whipping the money changers in the temple.

    I grew up in a home with very little exposure to popular culture. My mom didn't want my mind polluted by sex and violence. The only music I really knew was from church: soaring, uplifting songs praising Jesus. It was the same with movies. The Bible was my action movie. Samson was my superhero. He was my He-Man. A guy beating a thousand people to death with the jawbone of a donkey? That's pretty fierce. Eventually you get to Paul writing letters to the Ephesians and it loses the plot, but the Old Testament and the Gospels? I could quote you anything from those pages, chapter and verse. There were Bible games and quizzes every week at white church, and I always trounced everyone.

    Then there was black church. There was always some kind of black church service going on somewhere, and we tried them all. In the township, that typically meant an outdoor, tent-revival-style church. We usually went to my grandmother's church, an old-school Methodist congregation, five hundred African grannies in blue-and-white blouses, clutching their Bibles and patiently burning in the hot African sun. Black...

About the Author-

  • TREVOR NOAH is the most famous comedian from Africa and is the host of the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa to a black South African mother and a white European father, Noah has hosted numerous television shows, including South Africa's music, television, and film awards and two seasons of his own late-night talk show, Tonight with Trevor Noah. It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime is his first work for young readers and is based on his New York Times bestseller Born a Crime: Stores from a South African Childhood. Visit him online at TrevorNoah.com and follow @TrevorNoah on Twitter and Instagram.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2019
    Noah's pre-comedian experience of growing up in a country first strictly divided and then rocked by the fall of apartheid loses some of its grit but none of its potency in this YA adaptation of his memoir for adults Born a Crime (2016).Indisputable evidence of his white European father and his black Xhosa mother's illegal interracial relationship, Noah spends his childhood as a perpetual outsider--too black for the white people, too white for the black people, and too mixed for everyone else. But a tenacious spirit of curiosity, an impressive mischievous streak, and an uncompromisingly independent mother shape much of Noah's early years, and instances of struggle, danger, and bullying are attributed to political upheaval, racism, and bigotry mainly through the lens of adult hindsight. Divided into chapters of individual but interconnected childhood recollections, the book mirrors some of the ebb and flow of Noah's stand-up--strategically disjointed to fuel emotional crescendos without overlapping and diluting them. North American readers unacquainted with South African culture may encounter some different (but not wholly unfamiliar) racial dynamics--the term "colored people," for instance, has a different meaning and history than it does in the U.S.--but Noah does a thorough job of walking them through the colonial history, cultural and language idiosyncrasies, and political structures without bogging down the text, and what he doesn't fully unpack still leaves room for discussion.Startling in its honesty, humor, and humility. (historical note) (Memoir. 13-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2019

    Gr 5 Up-Comedian Trevor Noah is the son of a Black South African mother and a Swiss-German father. He considers himself born a crime as under apartheid law in South Africa, interracial relationships and marriages were seen as illegal until the law's decriminalization in 1985, a year after his birth. Noah navigates through a childhood filled with poverty, discrimination, and uncertainty as a biracial person who does not know where he fits in under a racially stratified government. His religious mother's unwavering faith serves as the saving grace and guiding light in his life. She sacrifices to ensure that he receives the best education as a means out of wayward behavior, hustling, and a life of crime. Their mother-son relationship is severely tested with the addition of her new husband Abel, whose personal demons reveal themselves and lead to an unexpected turn of events. The young readers' adaptation utilizes South Africa's colonial and apartheid histories as background context, offering keen insight into the diversity of South African culture, such as its many languages. Readers will appreciate Noah's comedic wit and timing during the good, bad and ugly times of his upbringing. On the other hand, readers will cringe at some of the more painful situations, such as the downplaying of domestic violence. VERDICT A necessary purchase for readers who will appreciate and understand how a parent's love enabled Noah to become the successful man he is now.-Donald Peebles, Brooklyn Public Library

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    March 1, 2019
    Grades 5-8 A television host, political commentator, and comedian, Trevor Noah has a reputation for wit. In this insightful memoir, adapted from the adult volume Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (2016), his clever mind and grasp of languages are unveiled. Noah intersperses his life experiences with a layered look at the history of South Africa. Growing up at the end of apartheid, he was evidence of a crime?his mother was Black and his father was white, and mixed-race children were illegal?and it made him an outsider. Noah grew up understanding that many aspects of his upbringing were fundamentally different: his mother raised him with an imagination and showed that there were no barriers to whatever he wanted to be. Readers will find this journey through Noah's formative years humorous and exciting. He has lived during a tumultuous time in South African history and come through it to become one of the most prominent voices in the world. An engrossing read on one of the most oppressive times in history for people of color.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

  • DOGO Books chung - I LIKE TREVOR NOAH,THAT'S THE REASON WHY I READ THIS BOOK,IT'S REALLY FUNNY,I REALLY ENJOY READING MY IDOL'S BOOK AND LEARN ABOUT HIS LIFE.
  • Jason Reynolds, New York Times bestselling author "Through the foreign, the familiar, and the funny, Born a Crime is a piercing reminder that every mad life--even yours--could end up a masterpiece."
  • Booklist "His mother raised him with an imagination and showed that there were no barriers to whatever he wanted to be. Readers will find this journey through Noah's formative years humorous and exciting."
  • Kirkus Reviews "Startling in its honesty, humor, and humility."
  • School Library Journal "For readers who will appreciate the understand how a parent's love enabled Noah to become the successful man he is now."

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    Random House Children's Books
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