After a Tennessee school district unanimously voted to ban a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, comic book shops across the country have stepped up to offer free copies of the novel to the district's students.
Last month, the McMinn County School district voted 10-0 to remove "Maus" from its curriculum. The board cited concerns about "rough, objectional language" and nudity.
The story, which was published serially throughout the 1980s, tells the story of author Art Spiegelman's Jewish parents in 1940s Poland. The novel depicts Nazis as cats and Jewish people as mice.
The decision to ban the book prompted criticism from across the country, including the U.S. Holocaust Museum. It also inspired Ryan Higgins to take action.
As I've offered before with other banned comics, I'll donate up to 100 copies of The Complete Maus to any family in the Mcminn County area in Tennessee. Just DM me your address! pic.twitter.com/ptmdjmwYE5— Ryan Higgins (@RyanHigginsRyan) January 26, 2022
Higgins owns Comics Conspiracy in the Bay Area city of Sunnyvale, California. Late last month, he tweeted an offer to provide up to 100 copies of Maus to students in McMinn County.
Higgins' tweet has since been retweeted nearly 4,000 times and has been "liked" more than 12,000 times. He told CNN that he immediately sold out of the novel after the school board voted to ban the book. But he said should have a new order in soon, which he will send out to Tennessee students.
"This is not a book that's all about pornography and violence," Higgins told CNN. "It teaches these kids about the horrors of the Holocaust in a more palatable way than some pictures that are just horrific."
In addition, USA Today reports that Knoxville, Tennesee's Nirvana Comics has promised to loan copies of "Maus" to local students. The store also started a GoFundMe to donate more copies to local families. That effort has raised more than $100,000.
"It should be required reading for everybody," said Rich Davis, the co-owner of Knoxville Nirvana Comics to CNN. "If we don't show them what the Holocaust was, the next generation may think it wasn't so bad, and then the next generation may think the Holocaust didn't happen, and then the next generation is repeating the Holocaust."