One book, One Bako is on a community mission

Sharida Rejon, Photographer

The annual project One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern, along with its main sponsors, Kern County Library and Cal State Bakersfield, are getting ready to kick off their fall 2013 events.

The project, which consists of a series of programs and events spread from September through November, promises to be a cultural experience designed to fascinate its audience and discuss issues that are present in our community in hopes to touch and define people’s lives.

The book chosen for this year’s event is New York Times bestseller “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” written by award winning science writer Rebecca Skloot. The book focuses on the famous HeLa cells, which became the first cells to survive and replicate outside of the human body that led to a medical revolution, and the woman behind the cells, Henrietta Lacks. The book touches on the themes of poverty, under-education, domestic abuse, and the inability to afford basic health care and medicine.

According to Kristie Coons, coordinator of One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern, these themes are relevant to our society. “The issues of poverty and domestic abuse are issues that, unfortunately, haven’t exactly been solved in Kern County. Many of the life issues that we face are ones that the Lacks family have struggled with,” Coons said.

One of the events being held during this year’s project is a book signing and presentation by the author of the book, Rebecca Skloot. According to Coons, approximately 2,000 people are expected to attend.

The presentation and book signing will take place on Nov. 6 at the CSUB Icardo Center at 7 p.m. Another event will be a presentation by the Lacks family, who will talk about Henrietta and the legacy of her cells. The Lacks family presentation will be held on Oct. 7 at the CSUB Dore Theatre at 7 p.m.

In addition to these events, One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern will offer book discussions, lectures, and festivals.

“Our goal is not to invite the community to just read one book, but to come together and talk about the book and its scenes,” Coons said.

For a full list of the events being offered by One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern, visit, or pick up a brochure at the Kern County Library.