East Nashville bookstore owner starts book drive after ‘Maus’ banning

Weeks after a Tennessee school district banned a book, a Holocaust graphic novel, local...
Weeks after a Tennessee school district banned a book, a Holocaust graphic novel, local bookstores are conducting a book drive to get the book in the hands of young people all over.(WSMV)
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 8:18 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) -A Pulitzer Prize winning book is at the center of a recent debate. “Maus” by Art Spiegelman is a graphic novel depicting the holocaust.

Recently, McMinn County School Board voted in favor of banning the novel. Fairytales Children’s Bookstore in East Nashville started a book drive for customers to purchase books at a discounted price so copies can go to middle and high school area teachers.

John Derr, the bookstore owner, says he started the book drive after receiving a large response from customers wanting to buy the book to give to students.

“I think books are a great way to teach children about history. Even parts of our history that are dark or tragic such as the holocaust,” said Derr.

The McMinn County School Board banned the book due to concerns of nudity and profanity. Since the banning, it’s sparked tons of conversation online. Art Spiegelman, the author, has commented several times telling CNBC he suspected that the school board was motivated less about the curse words but more by the topic of the Holocaust.

The graphic-based novel won a Pulitzer in 1992. The book tells the story of Spiegelman’s parents in Nazi Death Camps during the Holocaust.

News 4′s talked with area bookstore shoppers who shared their take on the controversy.

“I think honestly the subject of holocaust is something that you have to cover with your children yourself. And I don’t think I’d probably let my child read that book,” said Scott Hertzog.

Others believe history-based novels should be taught in schools.

“I think it’s dangerous to start to erase parts of history or parts of someone’s artistic statement. It’s most important to have those things taught in a very educational way with a lot of context and a lot of thought-provoking conversation,” said Sharon Mahoney.

So far, Fairytales Bookstore has raised over a hundred books. The donations will go to area middle and high school teachers.

“We just feel like it’s very important that children have access to books that can teach them about history, even dark parts of history,” said Derr.

Since the banning books have been flying off the shelves. According to Forbes, more than 14,300 copies sold the fourth week of January. The books are sold out on Amazon.

News 4 checked with several local bookstores and the book is sold out and associates say copies are on back order.

For more information on how you can donate, click here: https://www.fairytalesnashville.com/donate-maus

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