The Slatest

Sales of Maus Soar After a Tennessee School Board Banned the Book

Hardcover copy of The Complete Maus graphic novel on a wooden table
A school board in Tennessee has added to a surge in book bans by conservatives with an order to remove Maus, the award-winning 1986 graphic novel on the Holocaust shown above, from local student libraries. Author Art Spiegelman told CNN on Thursday that the ban of his book for crude language was “myopic” and represents a “bigger and stupider” problem than any with his specific work. Maro Siranosian/AFP via Getty Images

The decision by a Tennessee school district to ban Maus seems to have spiked interest in Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel about the Holocaust. Three different editions of the Pulitzer Prize–winning work are in the top seven of books on Amazon as of Sunday afternoon. The Complete Maus, which includes the two volumes of the novel, was No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller list. The first volume of the book was No. 3 on the list, while the second was No. 7. That means the books have only been increasing in popularity lately, considering that the Associated Press reported The Complete Maus was No. 9 on the list and the first volume No. 12 as of Friday evening. No version of the book was even in the top 1,000 of the bestseller list early last week.

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The rise in sales came after the McMinn County School Board in Tennessee voted to remove Maus from its eighth grade curriculum, citing its “inappropriate language” and the inclusion of an illustration of a nude woman. In an interview with the Washington Post, Spiegelman said the ban should be seen as a warning for the future. “It’s part of a continuum, and just a harbinger of things to come,” Spiegelman said. Coming at a time when conservatives are taking action to get books banned from schools, Spiegelman said that there is “at least one part of our political spectrum that seems to be very enthusiastic about” banning books. “This is a red alert. It’s not just: ‘How dare they deny the Holocaust?’ ” he added. “They’ll deny anything.”

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Lots of people have expressed their anger at the school board’s decision to ban the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. A comic book store in Tennessee, for example, said it would hand the book for free to every student in the county. The store, Nirvana Comics, first intended to set up a lending system where students could borrow copies of the graphic novel. But as word of the store’s plans started to spread, lots of people donated to a GoFundMe campaign and the book’s publishers agreed to sell the book at a reduced price so the novels could be donated to students.

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