By: Sydney Spangler
It's news that struck across the U.S. as millions prepared to honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust was recently banned by a Tennessee school district due to "inappropriate language" and an illustration of a nude woman.
The McMinn County School Board unanimously voted Jan. 10 to remove "Maus" from its curriculum, according to news outlets.
Maus is a nonfiction comic book by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman. Serialized from 1980 to 1991, it depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. It follows the years leading up to World War II to his parents' liberation from Nazi concentration camps.
Due to the book's visual exploration of individual experiences during the Holocaust, it depicts deeply unsettling images. However, the genocide of six million Jewish people in the second world war was horrifying, violent, and cruel. It's an ugly reality that must be faced if we want to be better.
The U.S. Holocaust Museum tweeted that "Maus has played a vital role in educating about the Holocaust through sharing detailed and personal experiences of victims and survivors.
Teaching about the Holocaust using books like Maus can inspire students to think critically about the past and their own roles and responsibilities today."
The ban came during a wave of conservative-sponsored legislation and other actions to pull books from schools. According to news outlets, the push includes books that address structural racism and LGBTQ+ issues.
There are ways you can get involved to combat censorship and keep books available in libraries. The American Library Association has put together a list of ways for readers to voice censorship concerns, celebrate free expression, and show their communities the importance of intellectual freedom. You can learn more by visiting ala.org.