It’s Trevor Noah:  Born a Crime:  Stories From a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers)

Last year, I read Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, and was so taken with it, I was recommending it to everyone I knew.  It turns out I had come across it a bit later than most of my friends and family, as most people let me know they had already read it.  Luckily for me, that did not dampen our enthusiasm for discussing the book and hoping it could become a movie.  Well, here’s a New Year’s gift:  yes, they are currently casting the movie, and the talented and beautiful Lupita Nyong’o will play Trevor’s mother. (He’s thrilled.)

In our latest trip to LA to visit with the grand twins, we were delighted to have the chance to dip back into this fascinating memoir, as Molly (now almost 13) had received the Young Reader version as a Hanukkah gift.   She loved it as much as we did.  I feel very confident in recommending this version to tweens and teens 10 and older.  Really, it’s a fine book for adults, but older readers might want to read a longer and more complete memoir.  In Born a Crime, Noah explains how his very existence is illegal, since he is half black and half white, which was against the law in South Africa when he was born.  As a mixed child growing up, he never would have imagined that he would become a popular comedian and commentator on The Daily Show.  It isn’t giving away any plot twists to say he grew up smart and savvy, and very funny, though there are clear elements of tragedy in his youth in a racist society with his existence fundamentally challenging the laws and social fabric of the country. There is great poignancy and wisdom in the book as well.  Trevor Noah writes eloquently as he explores the ramifications of not seeing what we do to others because we do not live with them.  Highly recommended–and remember:  the movie is in the works!

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