Amazon sales spike for "Maus", bookstores and readers voice support for graphic novel

Posted at 11:57 PM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-29 08:42:20-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A decision by an east Tennessee school board has the whole country talking. The removal of a Pulitzer Prize-winning book from schools has struck a nerve. Now the support for the graphic novel, Maus, is being heard nationwide.

There's nothing better than working in what you love. Former teacher Fawn Fernandes is owner of Hendersonville's Curious Capybara Bookshop.

"It's life dreams, man," she smiled. "A lot of people are jealous of me getting to live in books all the time."

Cameron McCasland lives in his element too at Nashville Education, Community, and Arts Television.

"The thing you're going to find if you turn on Channels 9, 10, or 19 is some of this stuff here," he said, giving a tour of the studio. "Public access is famous for its fake plastic trees."

As a kid, Cameron said comic books changed his life.

"Stan Lee taught me how to read," he said. "I work in visual mediums, so I think in pictures."

Fawn and Cameron are at two rather different workspaces with two different first loves of books and of comics, but they very much agree on the power of the graphic novel, Maus.

"The author Art Spiegelman was telling the story of his father who was a Holocaust survivor," said Cameron. "The Jews in the story are mice. The Nazis are cats."

"It has been well known for many, many years since it won the Pulitzer in 1992 for both the way it deals with the Holocaust and the art," added Fawn.

This week the McMinn County Board of Education in east Tennessee unanimously voted to remove Maus from 8th grade cirriculum.

A statement from the board says it's "...because of its unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide. Taken as a whole, the Board felt this work was simply too adult-oriented for use in our schools."

"It was really hard to hear," said Fawn. "It's such a valuable tool for helping our kids learn about a very difficult time."

"My initial thought was anger because I know how powerful that book can be," said Cameron. "I think it's hard to tell the story of the Holocaust without depictions of violence."

While the McMinn County Board of Education said they will find other books to cover Holocaust curriculum, something is happening with Maus. Many independent bookstores have taken to social media to voice their support for Maus, including Nashville's The BookShop and Fairytales Bookstore.

Over on Amazon, The Complete Maus was at #7 in books at the time of this story's publication..

"If you have a copy of this book sitting around, it's good to post a picture of it just to show what's happening," said Cameron.

"That's what I see as the silver lining on this cloud," said Fawn. "So many people are now reading this book."