Graphic Novel, Maus, Banned in Tennessee


Peter LaCount, Advisor

Maus, a Book About the Holocaust, Banned in Tennessee


On January 10 of this year the McMinn, Tennessee school board of ten members unanimously agreed to ban a book entitled Maus. This is a graphic novel about the Holocaust that has mice as Jewish people and cats as Nazis. The book is also based on the lives of Art Spiegleman’s parents, the author, who were sent to a concentration camp.


One of the school board members stated that there was ‘rough, objectionable language in the book.“ After reading the minutes of the board meeting where they banned the book, Mr. Spiegelman commented that the school board seemed to be asking, “Why can’t they teach a nicer Holocaust?” The McMinn County Board of Education stated that Maus was removed from the curriculum because ‘of its unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide.’ Remember, this is a graphic novel with no photographs and depicts one of the most violent and ugly events in world history.


Maus was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. The author’s parents survived Auschwitz, one of the worst of the murder camps the Nazi’s ran. His mother died by suicide.


I interviewed a number of our students and staff about the book and here is what they had to say about banning the book:


“I bought the book because I heard that it was banned.”


“It’s a good book, I don’t see what the problem is.”


“Yes, there is a nude sketch, but so what.”


“There’s some bad language in it, but you should read some of the other books we’ve read in class. The language is much worse.’


“It’s part of history so why would someone want to ignore it.”


“I’ve never read it, but I’m going to get it from the library.’


Source document: School Board on Tennessee Bans Teaching of Holocaust Novel ‘Maus’