A Tennessee school has banned the distribution and study of a Holocaust-related comic book novel. The school board has ruled that the book “Mouse: The Story of Survival” makes extensive use of swearing, nudity and suicide, making it “just too old” for students. The graphic novel created by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Art Spiegelman, tells the story of his parents and shows how they survived the Holocaust.
Spiegelman’s parents were Polish Jews sent to the Auschwitz extermination camp during WWII. His novel, which includes cartoon illustrations of mice as Jews and cats as Nazis, won several literary awards in 1992. Spiegman himself said he was “confused” by the decision.
At a school district board meeting, members said they felt the inclusion of curses in the graphic novel did not fit the eighth-grade curriculum. They also objected to the descriptions of graphic violence and suicide in the book, saying it did not represent the “values of the local community.”
After the outraged reactions on social media, board members made it clear that “the unnecessary use of the book in profanity and nudity, and the descriptions of violence and suicide are too much for a class of 13- and 14-year-olds.” They added that they “do not diminish the book’s value as a significant literary work, nor do they disagree about the importance of the book’s messages.”