East Tennesseans, Jewish community react to McMinn Co. banning Maus from schools

Maus ranks as Top 100 selling book, according to Barnes and Noble
McMinn County Board of Education voted to strip "Maus" from the 8th grade ELA Curriculum.
McMinn County Board of Education voted to strip "Maus" from the 8th grade ELA Curriculum.(WVLT)
Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 6:26 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - According to Barnes and Noble and Amazon, the book Maus is one of its best-selling books after the McMinn Co. school board unanimously approved removing the book from its 8th-grade curriculum. Some East Tennesseans are helping to make the book available by buying more books.

Nirvana Comic Books stocked more of the books and is allowing people to check them out for free.

Richard Davis, a partner at Nirvana Comics, said, “We have to confront our past. We have to deal with the good, the bad and everything in between. We can’t hide. We can’t run.”

People in East Tennessee’s Jewish community also feel the book is something made for younger people and is something that should be kept in schools.

Heska Amuna Synagogue’s Rabbi,l Alon Ferencey, said, “By the 8th-grade students can and perhaps should be exposed to difficult literature and something that teaches them right from wrong.”

McMinn Co. banned the book from its curriculum because of 8 swear words and the use of nudity in the illustrated novel. Rabbi Ferency said children learn about sexual situations and violence when reading the Bible.

“It’s a very basic and introductory text in a certain way and very geared toward if not younger readers than people at an early level of comprehension,” Rabbi Ferency said.

Some in McMinn County said they feel the book shouldn’t be available for high school children. The president of the Knoxville Jewish Alliance, Bryan Goldberg, said, “I don’t think that it’s an inappropriate age to start explaining the atrocities of the Holocaust to a 10 to 14-year-old.”

The McMinn Co. school board said in its decision that it is looking for a different book about the Holocaust. They’re just looking for one the board feels is more age-appropriate.

“Millions of people died at young ages including middle schoolers and they had to face and they had to face atrocities that middle schoolers today don’t have to face,” Goldberg said.

A man in Greenbeck is also pitching in to make the book more available to people in McMinn Co. He bought 15 Maus books and donated them to the public library in Athens to ensure children can read it somewhere in the community.

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