Sunday, October 2, 2022

‘Maus’ hits #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list after being banned by the Tennessee School Board

mouseArt Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust topped Amazon’s bestseller list after a Tennessee school district banned it from teaching in classrooms last week.

Sunday full release mouse retained its No. 1 spot on Amazon’s book bestsellers list, and individual editions of parts one and two also made it into the top ten retailers.

Sales have skyrocketed in recent days after the McMinn County Board of Education voted unanimously to remove mouse out of his eighth grade curriculum due to concerns about language and depictions of nudity. The book, published since 1986, tells the story of Spiegelman’s parents during the Holocaust and their imprisonment in Auschwitz.

In 1992, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Literature Special Award.

This cover image released by Pantheon shows "mouse" graphic novel by Art Spiegelman.
This cover released by Pantheon features Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus.

Pantheon via The Associated Press

According to meeting minutes, the board cited the “crude, unacceptable language” used in the book for the ban. One participant complained that the part of the story in which Spiegelman’s mother dies by suicide was too graphic.

“We don’t need these things to teach history to kids,” Mike Cochran, one of the school board members, said during the Jan. 10 meeting. “We can teach them history and we can teach them graphic history. We can tell them exactly what happened, but we don’t want all this nudity and everything.”

Although Spiegelman said he was concerned about the vote, he agreed that the imagery used in the graphic novel was disturbing.

“But you know what?” he told The New York Times in an interview, “It’s a disturbing story.”

The United States Holocaust Museum described mouse as a vital tool for teaching people about history, saying that graphic novels can “inspire students to think critically about the past and their own roles and responsibilities today.”

It is unclear if the school board plans to replace mouse with another book on the Holocaust in his curriculum.

The decision to ban the graphic novel comes amid an ongoing spate of book bans in the US, with conservative groups seeking to take down works dealing with slavery, racism and LGBTQ issues, among other things. Banned books include Toni Morrison. The bluest eye and Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird.

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