‘Maus’ tops Amazon bestseller list after Tennessee school board pulls graphic novel

Mouse’s graphic novel about the Holocaust, published decades ago, has reached a peak

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The bestseller list following the Tennessee School Board’s decision to remove the book sparked criticism nationwide.

The Complete Maus, which includes Parts One and Two of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Art Spiegelman, topped Amazon’s bestseller list Monday morning.. Later moved to second place. Separate editions of the installments were published in 1986 and 1991 respectively, and were also among the top 10 bestsellers on the retail giant’s website.

Interest in the graphic novel revived this month when the McMinn County Board of Education in Athens, Tennessee, voted unanimously. To remove “Maus” from her eighth grade curriculum. The 10-member board cited “vulgar” words that appeared in the book as well as topics they deemed inappropriate for eighth graders.

The school board’s January 10 decision sparked widespread criticism. in a Interview with CNBC Last week, Mr Spiegelmann said he was baffled by the move, calling it “Orwellian”.

Mr. Spiegelmann said Monday that he was impressed by the readers’ responses. He said he would use the income to donate to voter registration campaigns to help prevent efforts to ban books in schools.

An Amazon representative declined to comment. A representative from Penguin Random House’s Pantheon Graphic Library, which published the graphic novel, did not respond to a request for comment.

In Mouse, Spiegelmann examines the horrors of the Holocaust and his parents’ journey to survive, portraying the Nazis as cats and the Jewish people as mice. The nearly 300-page graphic novel received a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992.

The McMinn County Board of Education said the graphic novel was “simply very adult-oriented” and cited the use of profanity, nudity, and depictions of violence and suicide. In a statement last week, the council said it did not dispute the importance of educating students about the Holocaust and said it had asked officials to find more age-appropriate texts “to achieve the same educational goal.”

“The atrocities of the Holocaust were shameful beyond description, and we all have an obligation to ensure that younger generations learn from their horrors to ensure that such an event does not happen again,” the board said in a statement last week. “We simply do not believe that this work is an appropriate text for our students to study.”

The school board chair did not respond to a request for further comment on Monday.

The school board’s decision comes amid a A wave of similar efforts Across the United States to pull books from library shelves and change curricula, often following directions from state elected officials or challenges from parents that the books are not appropriate for children. Books often focus on topics around race and gender.

Tennessee is among at least 12 states — including Texas, New Hampshire and Idaho — that have recently enacted laws or passed rules outlining how schools and colleges can teach subjects related to discrimination, race, and gender. Last year, the number of book challenges by parents and other groups hit a record high, according to the American Library Association.

Write to Jennifer Calvas at jennifer.calfas@wsj.com

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