• Hoboken Middle School’s Book Club — Inspired by Trevor Noah

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    If you’ve ever been a part of a book club before, you know how interesting of an experience it can be. Some people only read the first few chapters, some go way too in-depth with their analysis, and some people are just there for the wine and socializing. Having a thriving book club with tons of dedicated and engaged readers can be rare – but we are so excited to tell you today about the Hoboken Middle School Book Club, a group that is defying odds and making waves in the community, particularly with Trevor Noah’s book, Born a Crime. Keep reading to find out how Trevor Noah’s biography has inspired kids at Hoboken Middle School’s book club.

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    How the Book Club Came to Be

    The Hoboken School District Book Club was started by Dr. Hal Abraham and students from the district. Dr. Abraham is the principal of the middle school, and noted that “family reading time is really prevalent in elementary school, but drops off when students get to middle and high school.” This community book club was created to encourage elementary, middle, and high school students to come together as one and bond over collaborative reading.

    The first book they chose was Ghost, by Jason Reynolds. In order to engage students across the district, a Google classroom was set up to allow students and their families to participate in and discuss the book in an online setting.

    See More: 4 Binge-Worthy Books to Read at the Beach {Found Locally}

    You wouldn’t think a book club is something that would attract the masses, but they have about 115 families currently participating with more joining every week {and the book club is competing with all sorts of other extracurriculars, sports teams, rec leagues, and other programming} and is thriving. Another fantastic aspect of this book club is, while there is a high percentage of active readers in the group, those kids are encouraging their friends who might be more reluctant readers to join as well. The love of reading is really being spread from those who already are active readers to those who are just now discovering a love of books for the first time.

    Born a Crime + The Book Club

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    After seeing such success with their first book, the administration decided to encourage the students to use the power of their voice by holding a public “Book Tasting.” They sampled four books and ultimately voted for which book would be the next to be read.

    The book they agreed upon was Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime — the comedian’s biography about growing up as a biracial South African during and after apartheid — which resonated with many of the students personally. Allowing the students to participate in choosing the book was really important for the school, according to Dr. Abraham.

    “If students know the value of using their voice and know that their voice is valued, they will want to come to school ready to perform at their highest level because they know they are a part of the process,” Dr. Abraham says.

    Read More: 6 Local {Hoboken + Jersey City} Authors + Books to Read in 2019

    How Born a Crime Has Left Its Mark

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    Choosing Trevor Noah’s book has certainly made a big impact on the student population, and the book club is currently working to try and have Noah come to speak in front of the book club. The students made a video {which you can see here} explaining their mission, and how important it was for them to read Noah’s biography. The book club partnered with Steven Rosado, a local real estate agent and close friend of Dr. Abraham, to publicize their efforts to bring Noah to speak at the book club meeting. They’re calling their efforts the #TrevorEffect — and asking everyone who watches the video to share in the hopes that Trevor Noah will see the video.

    “We want people to see that the Hoboken Public School District thinks big,” Dr. Abraham says. “And we want to encourage our students to do the same. We are doing unique, innovative things in our district.”

    Have you read Born a Crime? Are you ready to join the #TrevorEffect? Let us know in the comments!


    Written by:

    Arielle, a lifelong Jersey girl, has been “the crafty friend” for as long as anyone can remember. She is always working on something, whether it be a knitting project, a homemade card, or a delicious dinner - because why buy when you can DIY? When she’s not creating something new, Arielle can be found down the shore with her husband, laughing way too hard at her own jokes, reading whatever historical books she can get her hands on, or enjoying a beer or a bourbon with friends!