KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After “Maus,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust was banned in McMinn County, Nirvana Comics in Knoxville wanted to make sure students across East Tennessee had access to the book. The comic book store started a GoFundMe on Jan. 28 to raise funds to buy copies of the book.
Originally, Nirvana was just going to loan the 10 books within the store to whoever wanted to read “Maus,” but it quickly became something bigger. They set a goal to raise $20,000 to buy 1,000 copies to give away to local students. However, in three days over four times that amount was raised.
“I’m sure that this school board and parents were very well-intentioned trying to protect their children but I think they have achieved the exact opposite result because I don’t think they’re protecting their children by shielding them from books like ‘Maus.’ They’re actually harming them because they’re growing up expecting the world to be something that it isn’t.,” said Rich Davis, one of the partners at Nirvana Comics.
As of Tuesday evening, $96,309 had been raised and nearly 3,000 people had donated. The store will be giving away the book to any students who want one along with a study guide created by teacher Heather Moira Green. Nirvana asks that people reach out to them on Facebook or Instagram or stop by the store to receive a copy.
“The success of the fundraiser has forced us to reassess the way we’re handling this because it’s grown past being a small local initiative to now something that has the potential to impact a lot of students’ lives,” said Davis.
“Right now, there’s a pretty extensive waitlist to get copies so we’re gonna fill them as fast as we can. Tennessee residents are going to get priority, so they’ll get bumped to the front of the line, especially McMinn county,” said Davis. “After that we’ll start shipping them out all over the country.”
They are also encouraging students to donate their copy of “Maus” to a local library or to another student who wants to read the book.