Enrichment Arts & Culture

‘Maus’ rises to top of Amazon’s bestseller list after Tennessee ban

Story at a glance

  • Sales of the Pulitzer-prize winning graphic novel “Maus” have been surging since the book was dropped from a Tennessee county’s school curriculum earlier this month.
  • On Jan. 10, the McMinn County School Board unanimously voted to remove the book from its curriculum for a Holocaust module and replace it with another.
  • Board members took issue with eight curse words and the depiction of a naked woman in the novel.

Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” has risen to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list after the graphic novel was removed from a Tennessee county’s school curriculum earlier this month.  

“The Complete Maus,” which contains both volumes of the graphic novel, is now the second highest selling book on Amazon while “Maus:1: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History” has earned the number three spot. On Sunday afternoon, “The Complete Maus” was No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller list.  

The Pulitzer-prize winning graphic novel, which was originally released as a serial in the 1980s, tells the story of Spiegelman’s Jewish parents’ life in 1940’s Poland and their eventual deportation to a Nazi concentration camp.  

All humans in the graphic novel are depicted as animals, with Jews drawn as mice and the Nazis as cats. 


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The bump in “Maus” sales on Amazon comes after the novel was banned from a Tennessee county school board earlier this month.  

On Jan. 10, the McMinn County School Board unanimously voted to remove the graphic novel from its eighth grade English language arts curriculum citing issues with the book’s language and drawings of a nude woman.  

“Maus” was going to be the “anchor” text for a module on the Holocaust which also included interviews from Holocaust survivors, articles from the BBC, The Los Angeles Times and The Guardian, as well as excerpts from other books as teaching material, according to the school board’s meeting minutes.   

But the school board voted to drop the book and replace it with another text due to the eight curse words used in the book and the drawing of a naked woman in one panel. The woman depicted is Spiegelman’s own mother, who committed suicide in 1968.  

The NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League have taken issue with the book’s removal from the curriculum stating that the move “serves no purpose other than to rob the next generation of the generation of knowledge.”  

“The Tennessee State Conference of the NAACP is shocked and saddened again about the news coming out of our state, in particular the recent actions from the McMinn County School Board,” said President of the TN State Conference NAACP Gloria Sweet-Love, according to Commercial Appeal.  

“Banning the book ‘Maus’ about the Holocaust is another way to censor the history of a group of people. When will this stop! We will continue to let our elected officials know how disappointed we are in their actions.” 


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