January 30, 2022

Chalk this one up to the law of unintended consequences. It seems the McMinn County School board in Tennessee that voted to ban a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust just had their actions backfire on them.

Sales of Maus spike after Tennessee book banning:

Sales of Art Spiegelman’s Maus—the writer and illustrator’s Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel account of his father’s experiences as a Holocaust survivor—have reportedly spiked online this week. Said boost might partly be attributed to International Holocaust Remembrance Day having arrived this past Thursday—but probably has a lot more to do with a vote by a recent Tennessee school board, which took the, let’s say, unconventional tack of celebrating the day of remembrance by banning Maus from its schools.

Specifically, the McMinn County school board voted earlier this month, 0 to 10, to pull Maus due to “inappropriate language” and a depiction of a nude woman. Response to the move—and the implied belief that kids shouldn’t be exposed to bleakly educational accounts of real-world genocide if it also means being exposed to naughty words—has been met with a wide amount of derision online.

And purchases, apparently; per AP News, sales of all the editions of Maus (the individual Volumes 1 and Volume 2, and the collected The Complete Maus) are currently near the top of Amazon’s Best Sellers in Books ranking. AP News notes that Maus wasn’t even in the Top 1000 of Best Sellers this week before news of the ban broke wide.

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