May 22, 2022

Video: “Tennessee Mom Calls Henrietta Lacks Book ‘Pornographic’, Seeks to Have It Banned in School”

From the Los Angeles Times:

Jackie Sims’ 10th-grade son was asked to read “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” during the summer. “I consider the book pornographic,” she tells WBIR-TV. Her son was given an alternate text to read after her objections.

Now, Sims wants the book removed from Knox County Schools entirely.

“I just feel that strongly about it being out of the hands of our children,” she says. There are about 59,000 students in the school system, which includes about 90 schools.


“Just in time for banned books week,” Skloot tweeted. “A parent in TN confuses gynecology with pornography & tries to ban my book.”

Read the Complete Article

From WBIR-TV (Knoxville, TN)

Direct to Video and Text

What Sims read appalled her, she said, citing a passage that describes infidelity and another that describes Lacks’ intimate discovery that she has a lump on her cervix.

“I consider the book pornographic,” she said, adding it’s the wording that bothers her most.

“It could be told in a different way,” she said. “There’s so many ways to say things without being that graphic in nature, and that’s the problem I have with this book.”

Her son has been provided with an alternate text, per district policy, but Sims said she wants the text out of the hands of all Knox County Schools students.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.