When local Jewish and other faith-based organizations learned of a Tennessee school board decision to ban “Maus,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, from being taught in its classrooms, they responded by organizing a nationwide Zoom interview with author Art Spiegelman. The webinar was offered free to the public and offered an opportunity to hear Art Spiegelman’s thoughts on the banning of his book along with his views on the increased number of book challenges nationwide.
The phrase “removed from the school library” is becoming all too frequent in our national discourse on the place of comics and graphic novels in both the classroom and the library. Amongst this discourse, educators and librarians are working together to keep comics in the library, but what to do once they return to the shelf? What about bringing them into the classroom?
Through his art, Spiegelman has taken on such topics as Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and the Crown Heights riot of 1991 and we celebrate him as a banned author.
One of the key consequences of book banning is erasure. When we decide that some things are too uncomfortable to talk about, we risk losing the memory of how things happen. We lose context, we lose people, we lose the truth.