Born a Crime

About One Book, One Northbrook 2019

Read the Program Booklet

In September 2018, library staff met with members of the Village’s Community Relations Commission and interested community members to discuss what type of book we should select for our first community-wide read. After reviewing 76 suggested books, the selection committee selected Trevor Noah's Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood for the first One Book, One Northbrook. And in July of 2019, we held a month of special programs that focused on various aspects of the book's themes, including book discussions, films, presentations, and workshops. 

There were many community members and groups that helped to make this program a success:

  • RAIN (Racial Awareness in the Northshore)
  • The Community Relations Commission
  • Glenbrook North High School
  • Glenbrook South High School
  • The Book Bin

One Book, One Northbrook Programs: July 2019

  • Film & Discussion: Loving (Rated PG-13)
  • One Book, One Northbrook Book Discussion
  • Film & Discussion: You Laugh But It’s True (Not Rated)
  • Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie Night & Discussion: District 9 (Rated R)
  • Finding Your Funny Comedy Workshop (Grades 9-12)
  • More in Common Than You Think with Storyteller and Humorist, Arif Choudhury
  • The Identity Paradox: How Our Multiple Identities Both Divide and Unite Us
  • High School Book Discussion: Born a Crime (Grades 9-12)
  • Books and Bites: Teen Book Discussion of It's Trevor Noah (Grades 6-8)
  • Guest Speaker: South Africa, Apartheid, & Chicago
  • Books on Tap: Born a Crime

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.

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. 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 bestseller. 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.