2014 – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

2014 – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. This New York Times bestseller takes readers on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers filled with HeLa cells, and from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia, to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

2014 Companion Books:

  • “Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project” by Dave Isay
  • “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio
  • “A Color of His Own” by Leo Leonni

2014 Program Highlights:

Highlights of the 2014 program include a thoughtful panel discussion on medical ethics, a presentation on digital privacy, and the start of MATV’s citizen journalism program. We paired with the local North Shore Black Women’s Association to present a fabulous theatrical presentation of the book. We also began the first “Reading Circles,” an opportunity for adult English language learners to engage with the program by learning how to read the children’s selections aloud (to later read with their children).

Click here for a printable brochure giving highlights of the 2014 Malden Reads season.

Check out the Malden Reads video below: