“Malden Reads” Reads Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


Sophomore Alicia Carriere reads a passage from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Photo by Felicia Fallano

Malden Reads started off the new year with their opening celebration at the Malden Converse Memorial Building on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. Malden Reads is a committee dedicated to bringing students and the people of Malden together to read chosen books for all different age groups.

According to co-facilitator Anne D'Urso-Rose, “each year, the program gets bigger and more robust, with more people aware of it, reading the books, participating in events, and being involved in putting this program together. Our Opening Celebration was the most well-attended one so far, estimated at over 300 people in attendance.” They are also getting more attention from social media users and their “email list, facebook friends, and twitter followers are growing every year.” The program is going into their fourth year meeting to read and discuss different books.

The featured book this year The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The book takes readers through the journey of a poor tobacco farmer whose cells were believed to be, by scientists and doctors, essential to forming the vaccine for Polio and advances in cloning, in vitro fertilization, gene mapping and  exposed secrets of cancer and many viruses. When asked about the book D'Urso-Rose said, “it teaches us that ordinary people can contribute to the world in extraordinary way,” and, “explores the wonder of modern medicine and the evolution of privacy rights, civil rights, and economic justice.” She recommends this book to ages 15 and older.

The companion books this year, including Wonder by R. J. Palacio and a picture book selection, is about accepting who you are and accepting other people, which D'Urso-Rose thinks, are “important issues for all of us.” She is happy that the books are becoming extremely popular and are ”flying off the shelves at the library.”

The Malden Reads had a successful opening night. Malden High School’s own Play Production participated during the event. According to English teacher Sean Walsh, eight students performed an interpretive skit about the book, and they read four excerpts as well.

Malden Reads never fails to host family events and group readings. If you are interested in going to an event, Malden Reads “invites all ages to get involved by reading the books, participating in the events & programs that hold the most interest for you.”
Malden High School's Play Production performs an interpretive skit about the book. Photo by Felicia Fallano

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