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ALA/NBC Banned Book Club to Discuss Maus


The American Library Association (ALA) and Chicago Today’s Banned Book Club will kick off the new year with a discussion of Art Spiegelman’s groundbreaking graphic novel, Maus.

Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize–winning work details his father's experiences during the Holocaust, with Jewish characters depicted as mice and Nazis as cats. Maus has been the subject of multiple challenges and bans since its publication in 1991, notably for depictions of nudity and adult language.

When asked if he thought the recent challenges of Maus are part of a larger culture war occurring in the U.S., Spiegelman told American Libraries:

"Absolutely. I do feel like I’ve become cannon fodder in a culture war, because I’m not the logical target right now. The real challenges have to do with [books about] people who aren’t gender normative and race books that indicate that everything isn’t a Garden of Eden for Blacks in America. That kind of book gets challenged more, so I had to figure out why this was happening. Maus is not especially lurid. What I think made it an issue is that the idea of challenging one’s parents is threatening to an authoritarian, and there’s a lot of that going on in my book."

Maus will be discussed during a live chat on ALA's Facebook page on January 4 at 12:30 p.m. CT moderated by ALA President Emily Drabinski. Join us for the discussion!

The Banned Book Club, which began in early 2023, has expanded to additional NBC markets across the U.S. since its debut, with NBC Los Angeles’ California Live and NBC Boston’s Hub Today joining the efforts to help promote the right to read.

Take action

Alarmed by the escalating attempts to censor books? Here are five steps you can take now to protect the freedom to read.

  1. Follow news and social media in your community and state to keep apprised of organizations working to censor library or school materials.
    2. Show up for library workers at school or library board meetings and speak as a library advocate and community stakeholder who supports a parent’s right to restrict reading materials for their own child but not for all
    3. Help provide a safety net for library professionals as they defend intellectual freedom in their communities by giving to the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund.
    4. Educate friends, neighbors, and family members about censorship and how it harms communities. Share information from Banned Books Week.
    5. Join the Unite Against Book Bans movement and visit our Fight Censorship page to learn what you can do to defend the freedom to read in your community.

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