Tennessee‌ ‌County‌ ‌bans‌ ‌Amazon‌ ‌Best‌ ‌Seller‌ ‌‌Maus‌


Photo by Chiva Congelado used with permission from Google Commons

Maus, by Art Spiegelman, is banned by McMinn County in Tennessee. The school board deems the book, which has been in their middle school curriculum for years, inappropriate for students.

The book, Maus, by Art Spiegelman, was banned by the school board of McMinn County, TN, Jan. 10 due to what they deemed profane speech and inappropriate symbols during a school board meeting. Many people were outraged by the ban, believing it was unfair, and decided to take action against the county.

Since it was published in 1992, Maus has been a part of McMinn County Public Schools curriculum, as well as other school districts around the United States. Spiegelman’s graphic novel uses mice as a less-graphic way to teach middle school children and help them better understand the Holocaust and its effects on Jewish families. But in January, McMinn County decided that the book was ultimately too inappropriate to incorporate into the curriculum because it has mild profanity, a naked woman, and depicts violence and suicide, according to CNBC.

McMinn County’s argument was that they can teach the students about the Holocaust without all the gore and violence. Book ban opponents say the graphic novel format allows the students to better comprehend the events that happened during the Holocaust. Just speaking about the subject may not allow the students to fully learn about it.

With a topic as significant as the Holocaust, just talking about the subject isn’t enough. “Learning about the Holocaust is a very critical part of understanding the struggles that Jewish people have had to endure. Maus provides a good visual representation of the Holocaust without being too gory,” said junior Kaitlin Mariani, who read the book. 

Upon the discovery of his book being banned, Spiegelman was in “jaw-dropping disbelief,” believing that the school board used its mild profanity as an excuse to remove the Holocaust from the curriculum, according to NPR.org. He sent out tweets and internet messages to encourage people to support the book in any way they could.

Others were also outraged by the prejudice displayed by the county and decided to take action. Bookstore owners around the country and especially around McMinn County decided to buy Maus in bulk to the point that Amazon was sold out. For example, a bookstore just outside of McMinn County started a GoFundMe page to buy copies of Maus and has raised $30,000 so far, according to CNBC. The bookstores have then been heavily advertising, or even donating these books in order to protest the McMinn School Board’s decision. Since the banning of the book, Maus’s sales have skyrocketed, making its way onto Amazon’s top three best-selling books of the week of Jan. 31.