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A Teacher’s Guide for Grades 8-10:

It’s Trevor Noah: Born A Crime

Dive into the true life story of comedian Trevor Noah, and explore his experiences being “born a crime” as a mixed-race person in segregated apartheid South Africa. We chose this novel for its thoughtful attention to some powerful social and emotional themes: perseverance, belonging, fear, injustice, family, being different, and empathy. Students will find themselves inspired by Trevor’s hustle and inventiveness in navigating the challenges of segregation; this curriculum will help students make connections between Trevor’s experiences in South Africa and their own nation’s history of injustice.

It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime is a memoir highlighting Trevor’s experiences growing up in apartheid South Africa, under a system Trevor describes as “perfect racism.” Trevor was born in 1984 to a stubborn and rebellious mother and a White Swiss-German expatriate. Under apartheid, people of different races were forbidden from being together; hence Trevor’s mere existence was evidence of his parents’ crime. Under apartheid, the ruling White Afrikaners divided people up by race, created settlements for each group to live in, forced their relocation to these settlements, and created vast borders to physically keep people separate from each other. Trevor’s mother, Patricia, actively broke the laws of apartheid to create better life opportunities for herself and her son. Trevor tells the story of his childhood in vignettes that are filled with his witty humor, expressing the difficulties of presenting as a multiracial person while feeling like a Black person. He explores relatable and classic coming-of-age stories from his unique perspective, sharing the trials and tribulations of bullying, trying to fit in, dating, making money, and familial conflict. The book ends the same way as it begins—with mother and son laughing in the wake of intensity, violence, and conflict.

Author:  Trevor Noah

Our Reading with Relevance teacher’s guide breaks the novel into a series of thoughtful lesson plans. Each lesson is designed to support you to meaningfully explore the social and emotional themes of the day’s reading with your students, inspiring them to read deeply, think critically, talk openly, and write reflectively about topics that matter.

This teacher’s guide includes:

  • A facilitator’s guide with tips and resources for implementing the curriculum.
  • A map of Common Core Standards addressed through this program.
  • 13 individual lesson plans, including vocabulary, discussion questions, journal prompts, extension activities, and all handouts.
  • Two assessments to monitor student progress throughout the program.
  • Regular checkpoints to help teachers assess their students’ progress on ELA standards.
  • A culminating essay-writing unit.
  • An appendix with additional teaching resources and activities to continue exploring this novel.

Pages: 94
Dimensions: 8.5″ x 11″



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