Adult Non-Fiction with Young Reader's Versions




A couple of years ago several of my friends were talking about this memoir by an African American man called Trevor Noah. I honestly had no idea who Trevor Noah was and after seeing a friend gawk at me after I said that, I thought, well I guess I should look into this book...it must be good! I am SO GLAD that I did, because even though I don’t watch Noah’s late night talk show, The Daily Show, I still really, really enjoyed reading his memoir Born a Crime.

When I saw that Random House was releasing a young reader’s version, I was beyond ecstatic to read it and see how it would be adapted for a younger reader. Spoiler: it was fan-tas-tic!

Trevor Noah is mixed race. His mom is African and still lives in Johannesburg and his dad is Swedish. He was born in Africa when institutional racism called Apartheid (a-par-tide) existed. Multi-racial relationships were illegal and having children with someone of another race was even worse. 

Noah’s birth was a crime in Africa.

Kids are going to lose their minds to learn this... and the kicker is, this didn't happen a long time ago. Trevor Noah is only 35 years old. Apartheid ended in the 90s ... and even though Apartheid has ended, like legal segregation has ended in the States, the racism in Africa is still horrible.

Reading about what life was like for Noah in Africa was so interesting and I learned so much about African history that I didn’t know. And, honestly, I felt ashamed that I knew so little. Kids are going to devour this book. Noah and his publisher did a fantastic job at adapting this (very mature) story for kids to read without sacrificing the integrity of Noah’s past. It is recommended for ages 10 and up and I would recommend a grade level of 5th grade and up.

Reading Born a Crime did get me thinking about all of the other important non-fiction adult stories that are published and what Young Reader’s Editions are out there. Below is a list of several pairings that would be fantastic to add to your classroom or library’s non-fiction section.



Adult Title
Young Reader’s Edition


Thank you so much to the MANY people that weighed in on this topic on Twitter! I learned about SO MANY new titles that I didn't know had a young reader's companion! 

With many of these books, the content is mature. Please read the young reader's version before putting them in your library so you know it is appropriate for your grade level. 

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