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NYC Teens Gather to Read 'Maus' in response to Tennessee Banning

Updated: May 12, 2022


April 29, 2022

NEW YORK -- In response to Tennessee’s recent banning of graphic novel Maus, members of Teens for Press Freedom (TPF) and New York City teens read the book and met to discuss it.

Agatha German, a member of the TPF Outreach Team, said, “The banning of Maus is more than just censorship of Art Spiegelman and his story. The Holocaust happened just eighty years ago, yet an alarming percentage of Americans aren't aware it happened.”

The book chronicles Art Speiglman’s father’s experience of the Holocaust with Nazis represented as cats and Jews represented as mice.

The convening was part of the organization’s “Banned Book Club,” to engage high schoolers with literature that goes beyond the common narrative. Members joined in-person and virtually, with people Zooming in from New York and California.

Althea Collier, Director of the TPF Advocacy Team who attended the event, added, “Banning books is thought policing, a phenomenon Gen Zers are already particularly susceptible to. As the generation of social media and cancel culture, the limitation of thought and opinion coming from governmental institutions is especially dangerous.”

German added, “Tennessee is erasing history and silencing voices that need to be heard. They're not just erasing history – they're erasing the present too.”

The Tennessee state legislature claimed the book was inappropriate for students, citing a page where a breast of a woman is drawn.

The Book Club was advertised with posters designed by TPF Cofounder Isabel Tribe, that read “Reading is an Act of Resistance,” with a photo taken by TPF Photographer, Lily Echeverria.

Charlotte Hampton, Cofounder of Teens for Press Freedom said, “We're an age of disempowerment, when the books we’re reading can be limited by cowardly legislators. Teenagers should come together and read. Small acts of resistance are acts of resistance nonetheless.”


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