Comic Book Stores Offer To Send Free Copies Of 'Maus' To Tennessee Students

A Tennessee school board removed the graphic novel about the Holocaust from middle school curriculums.

Comic book store owners are offering to send copies of Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” to Tennessee students after a county school board nixed it from eighth-grade curriculums.

On Jan. 10, the McMinn County Board of Education voted unanimously to pull the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel, citing concerns about profanity and cartoon depictions of partial nudity.

The book, published beginning in 1986, tells the story of Spiegelman’s parents’ experience during the Holocaust and their imprisonment at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland.

Since the ban,“Maus” has soared to No. 1 on the Amazon bestseller list.

Ryan Higgins, owner of the Comics Conspiracy shop in Sunnyvale, California, announced on Twitter last week that he would donate up to 100 copies of “The Complete Maus” to any family in McMinn County.

Higgins said the few copies he had in stock sold out immediately. He told The Washington Post that about 60 students who live in McMinn County school district had contacted him wanting copies, and he planned to ship them later this week when his next book shipment arrives.

Higgins read the book when he was a teen and it opened his eyes to history.

“It was heartbreaking and emotional, and it brought a whole new window to something I had little knowledge about,” he told the Post.

The graphic novel "Maus" by Art Spiegelman.
The graphic novel "Maus" by Art Spiegelman.
Maro Siranosian via Getty Images

In Knoxville, just north of McMinn County, the Nirvana Comics shop said it would loan copies of “Maus” to students. Rich Davis, a co-owner of the store, told CNN they had planned to let students borrow its 10 copies of the book, but then interest skyrocketed.

So, the store changed the program from a small lending library to providing well over 1,000 books to people all over the country. A GoFund Me for the project has raised more than $98,000, far more than its $20,000 goal.

“Art Spiegelman’s masterpiece is one of the most important, impactful and influential graphic novels of all time. We believe it is a must read for everyone,” the fundraiser said. “All funds will be used to purchase ‘Maus’ for students local and across the U.S.!”

Students who want a copy of the book are encouraged to contact Nirvana Comics on Facebook or Instagram.

In an update posted on Tuesday, the store owners said they will also include a parent teaching guide with the book that was put together by a teacher.

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