Monday, May 14th, 2012


To request a complimentary examination copy of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to review for classroom use, please contact us at K12education@edu.penguinrandomhouse.com or call us toll free at (844) 851-3955.

Students at Evans High School in Evans, Georgia celebrate their first Henrietta Lacks Day

By Dana McCullough, Biology Teacher, Evans High School

On October 4, 2011, the Evans High School Multicultural Club and Evans High School Biology teachers invited the entire staff and student body of Evans High School to celebrate the life of Henrietta Lacks.  Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital on this day in 1951.  Henrietta Lacks may have died on this day, but her cells, called HeLa cells, are still living in laboratories all over the world.  “Henrietta’s cells were the first immortal human cells ever grown in culture.  They were essential to developing the polio vaccine.  They went up in the first space missions to see what would happen to cells in zero gravity.  Many scientific landmarks since then have used her cells, including cloning, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization” (Zielinski, 2010).  This is an incredible story told by Rebecca Skloot in her award-winning book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  This book makes a wonderful springboard for discussions concerning civil rights and medical ethics as well as the science behind these miraculous cells.  Another interesting subject covered in the book involves the Lacks family.  The family receives no monetary compensation from laboratories and drug companies using HeLa cells and they cannot afford healthcare. (more…)

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To request a complimentary examination copy to review for classroom use, please contact us at K12education@edu.penguinrandomhouse.com or call us toll free at (844) 851-3955.

NO-NO BOY
by John Okada

The first Japanese American novel, No-No Boy, tells the story of draft resister Ichiro Yamada, whose refusal to comply with the U.S. government after his experience in an internment camp earns him two years in prison and the disapproval of his family and community in Seattle. A touchstone of the immigrant experience in America, it dispels the “model minority” myth and asks pointed questions about assimilation, identity, and loyalty.

“A cautionary tale . . . of the incarceration of immigrant families based on racial prejudice, executive privilege, and the false assertion of military necessity . . . Over a half century later, Okada’s novel challenges us once again with the question of character, asking us, as individuals and as a society, what are we made of.” —Karen Tei Yamashita, from the Introduction

AMERICA IS IN THE HEART
by Carlos Bulosan

Carlos Bulosan’s semi-autobiographical novel America Is in the Heart, similar in time period and setting to Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, details Bulosan’s experiences with other Filipino migrant laborers who endured intense racial abuse in the fields, orchards, towns, cities, and canneries of California and the Pacific Northwest in the 1930s. His deeply moving account of what it was like to be criminalized in the U.S. as a Filipino migrant demands a reexamination of the American dream.

EAST GOES WEST
by Younghill Kang

Young, idealistic Korean immigrant Chungpa Han travels throughout the United States working as a salesman, a domestic worker, and a farmer, and observing along the way the idealism, greed, and shifting values of the industrializing twentieth century.

“Groundbreaking and inspirational . . . A call to action, a call for the country to live up to the dream it has of itself . . . This book is for all of us.” —Alexander Chee, from the foreword

THE HANGING ON UNION SQUARE
by H. T. Tsiang

A subversive satire by an essential Chinese American voice: in Depression-era New York, Mr. Nut, an American everyman, meets a cast of strange characters—disgruntled cafeteria workers, lecherous old men, sexually exploited women, pesky authors—who eventually convince him to cast off his bourgeois aspirations for upward mobility and become a radical activist. Absurdist, inventive, and suffused with revolutionary fervor, The Hanging on Union Square is a work of blazing wit and originality.

“This is a voice to which the white world . . . will have to listen more and more as time passes.” —Upton Sinclair