"Maus: A Survivor's Tale", the Pulitzer prize-winning Holocaust graphic novel has become a bestseller, after a Tennessee school board banned it. The two editions of Art Spiegelman's graphic novel that revolves around his parents' experiences during the Holocaust, has surged to the top of Amazon's bestseller list over the weekend.
The news comes after 10 McMinn County school board members agreed last week to remove Maus from the eighth-grade curriculum, citing "rough, unpleasant language" and caricatures of naked women as reasons for doing so. According to Amazon, Spiegelman's books are in short supply and will not be available for delivery until mid-February or early March.
Topping the List
Over the weekend, "The Complete Maus" (1996) and "Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History" (1986) both broke into Amazon's top 20 list and are currently ranked No. 1 and No. 2 on the bestseller list, respectively.
According to reports, neither book was in the top 1,000 at the beginning of last week.
Other sub-categories of Amazon's bestselling lists, such as Comics & Graphic Novels and Biographies & Memoirs, are dominated by the various editions.
The McMinn County School Board in Tennessee voted to ban the book earlier this month due to concerns about "rough" language and a nude drawing of a mouse (meant to be the author's mother).
"Maus" was a part of the eighth-grade English language arts curriculum, and its removal drew international attention, triggered by a conversation about how to best teach pupils about the Holocaust.
"We don't need to enable or somewhat promote this stuff," McMinn County board member Tony Allman said, adding in reference to the murder of 6 million Jewish people in the second world war: "I am not denying it was horrible, brutal and cruel.
The school board was dead against the book being introduced to eighth graders as it would create a negative impact on them. "It shows people hanging," Allman said. "It shows them killing kids. Why does the education system promote this kind of stuff? It is not wise or healthy."
Another board member, Mike Cochran, said: "If I was trying to indoctrinate somebody's kids, this is how I would do it. You put this stuff just enough on the edges, so the parents don't catch it but the kids, they soak it in. I think we need to relook at the entire curriculum."
That said, Spiegelman, 73, who has grown used to his book being banned, called the recent removal "absurd" and "myopic."
"They're totally focused on some bad words that are in the book," he told CNN last week. "I can't believe the word 'damn' would get the book jettisoned out of the school on its own, but that's really where the genuine focus seems to be.
"Maus" was first serialized in Spiegelman's 1980 comic anthology "Raw". The story is set in 1940s Poland during the Holocaust and chronicles his parents' internment in Auschwitz, depicting Nazis as cats and Jewish people as mice.
"Maus" won a Pulitzer in 1992 and is published by the recently expanded Pantheon Books, which now operates as an autonomous imprint within the Penguin Random House conglomerate.
It's not clear if the school board now plans to replace "Maus" with another book about the Holocaust or bring it back.