The One Book, One Northbrook Selection: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime

We invite everyone in Northbrook to read Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah and then to come together for special community-wide programs around the book’s themes throughout the summer. 

Join us for the One Book, One Northbrook Kickoff
Sunday, June 30, 1:00-4:00pm
Learn more about the book and the programs celebrating our One Book, One Northbrook selection "Born a Crime" by Trevor Noah. We will have copies of the book to hand out to attendees, while supplies last.

About One Book, One Northbrook

One Book, One Northbrook encourages our community to read the same book and then come together for a series of events centered around the book and its themes. "One Book One City" initiatives have taken place throughout the United States in a variety of locations. The first such program was "If All of Seattle Read the Same Book" in 1998.

In September 2018, library staff met with members of the Village’s Community Relations Commission and community members who were interested in the project and discussed what we would want in a selection. We started with 76 suggested titles, and narrowed those down to 4 finalists based on what we wanted in a title. The criteria included a book that would appeal to adults and teenagers, something with a diverse perspective, and something we felt would appeal to Northbrook based on our experiences working with readers.

We are working with a number of community members and groups to make this project a success:

  • RAIN (Racial Awareness in the Northshore)

  • The Community Relations Commission

  • Glenbrook North High School

  • Glenbrook South High School

  • The Book Bin

About Born a Crime

Born a Crime is a comedic autobiographical work chronicling Trevor Noah’s childhood growing up in South Africa in the 1980s. Because Noah’s mom is black, while his dad is white; under apartheid in South Africa, he was literally “born a crime.” For much of Noah’s memoir, he focuses on this idea of people being segregated, either forcibly, and by the government, or of their own volition.

Noah's use of humor is an entry point for many to learn about difficult issues of identity and apartheid. Apartheid officially ended halfway through Noah’s childhood, but its detrimental effects lasted much longer which he discusses in the book.

One Book, One Northbrook Programs

To receive email about the upcoming One Book, One Northbrook Programs, sign up for our email list.

One Book, One Northbrook Kickoff
Sunday, June 30, 1:00-4:00pm

Join us for refreshments and a drop-in craft activity celebrating our One Book, One Northbrook selection "Born a Crime" by Trevor Noah.

Concert: The Sounds of South Africa & Beyond
Sunday, June 30, 3:00-4:00pm, Auditorium

A South African-themed concert with a mixture of rock, jazz, and blues. 

Reserve a Spot

Film & Discussion: Loving (Rated PG-13)
Wednesday, July 10, 2:00pm, Auditorium

The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a couple whose arrest for interracial marriage in 1960s Virginia launched a legal battle that would end with the Supreme Court's landmark 1967 decision. Columbia College lecturer and Chicago anti-apartheid activist Basil Clunie will lead a discussion immediately afterwards. 

Reserve a Spot

One Book, One Northbrook Book Discussion
Thursday, July 11, 2:00-3:00pm, Pollak Room

Librarian Lori Siegel leads a discussion of Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Reserve a Spot

Film & Discussion: You Laugh But It’s True (Not Rated)
Tuesday, July 16, 7:00pm, Auditorium

In the world of stand-up comedy in South Africa, Trevor Noah uses his childhood experiences as a biracial child during apartheid to prepare for his first one-man show. Staff member Tracy Gossage will lead a discussion following the film.

Reserve a Spot

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie Night & Discussion: District 9 (Rated R)
Thursday, July 18, Auditorium, 7:00-9:45pm

Born of viral marketing, this sci-fi film explores the themes of humanity and social segregation in Johannesburg, South Africa under the guise of an alien invasion. A disucssion of the film's themes will follow the screening.

Reserve a Spot

Finding Your Funny Comedy Workshop (Grades 9-12)
Sunday, July 21, 1:30-2:30pm, Pollak Room

Storyteller and humorist Arif Choudhury leads an interactive workshop on developing your comedy skills, finding humor in everyday life, and shaping jokes to bring people together.

Reserve a Spot

More in Common than You Think
Sunday, July 21, 3:00-4:00pm, Auditorium

Storyteller and humorist Arif Choudhury shares humorous stories of growing up in one of the few Bangladeshi-Muslim immigrant families in Northbrook. Focusing on issues of ethnic and religious identity, assimilation, multiculturalism, and diversity, his stories poke fun at how we think of one another.

Reserve a Spot

The Identity Paradox: How Our Multiple Identities Both Divide and Unite Us
Monday, July 22, 7:00-8:30pm, Pollak Room

Professor Judith Levi examines the complexity and sources of our multifaceted identities, how they influence our "reconciliation readiness," and how we can use them to unite instead of divide us. In partnership with RAIN (Racial Awareness in the Northshore).

Reserve a Spot

High School Book Discussion: Born a Crime (Grades 9-12)
Tuesday, July 23, 7:00-8:15pm, Civic Room

Enjoy your choice of drink and discuss the book, Born a Crime.

Reserve a Spot

Books and Bites: Teen Book Discussion of It's Trevor Noah (Grades 6-8)
Friday, July 26, 5:00-6:00m, Civic Room

Enjoy your choice of drink and discuss It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime (adapted for young readers). 

Reserve a Spot

Guest Speaker: South Africa, Apartheid, & Chicago
Monday, July 29, 7:00-8:00pm, Pollak Room

Northwestern University professor Ava Thompson Greenwell discusses Chicago’s anti-apartheid movement in the ‘80s and ‘90s as well as the current state of South Africa with pictures and videos from her most recent trip to South Africa.

Reserve a Spot

Books on Tap: Born a Crime
Wednesday, July 31, 7:00-8:30pm, Landmark Inn

Join us for a discussion of Born a Crime by Trevor Noah at the Landmark Inn. 

Reserve a Spot

About the Author

Born on February 20, 1984 in Soweto, South Africa to a black South African mother and a white European father, Trevor Noah has hosted numerous television shows there, including the South Africa Film and Television Awards and two seasons of his own late-night talk show Tonight with Trevor Noah

Trevor has written, produced and starred in eight comedy specials, including Afraid of the Dark on Netflix. Trevor’s latest stand-up special, Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia, premiered November 20 on Netflix. In 2016, Trevor debuted his one-hour stand-up special Trevor Noah: Lost in Translation on Comedy Central.

Trevor was the subject of David Paul Meyer’s award-winning documentary film You Laugh But It’s True, which tells the story of his remarkable career in post-apartheid South Africa. His Showtime comedy special Trevor Noah: African American premiered in 2013. 

In November 2016, Trevor released his first book, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, and it became an instant New York Times best seller. The book received the Thurber Prize for American Humor and two NAACP Image Awards – one for Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author and another for Outstanding Literary Work in the Biography/Autobiography category.

In April 2018, Trevor launched the Trevor Noah Foundation, a youth development initiative that enhances youth preparedness for higher education or entry into the workforce. Trevor’s vision is a South Africa that advances because each generation builds and grows beyond its predecessor.