KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It has been a year since the McMinn County School Board made the decision to ban the graphic novel, Maus. Following the ban, a Knoxville Comic book shop decided to give away free copies of the book.

In 2022, Nirvana Comics launched a fundraiser in order to give away as many copies of Maus as possible. They were able to raise over $100,000 in a week and give away thousands of copies of the book Maus for free across the United States and around the world.

In honor of the year anniversary, Nirvana Comics wanted to do something special. This weekend, people can take a copy of Maus home for free or at any price they want. Any funds raised will go to fund their Free Little Library and reading outreach programs. Both the free library and the outreach programs grew out of Nirvana’s efforts to provide students access to Maus.

“The founder of the store, Richard Davis, he decided to make an announcement that any student searching for this book would be able to get it from our store for free. We had a few copies at the time we had ordered a few more. It was a simple, simple plan, a modest proposal. Overnight, the story went viral,” said co-owner Grant Michell. “We found out later that Star Trek Wil Wheaton actually shared our post and that helped it go viral. By the end of the next day, we were on CNN ago.”

“We’ve tried to kind of keep the same mission going. We founded our Free Library in the store that way kids can always have access to educational books. We started partnering with local schools doing school programs to get kids books that will help them understand some of those harder topics in school,” said Michell.

Maus was written by Art Spiegelman and chronicles his parents’ experiences as Jews in the 1940s and their internment at Auschwitz. Included in the book is an interview with Spiegelman’s father and features illustrations depicting Jewish people as mice and Nazis as cats.

“You’re not always going to feel great reading it. It’s not a happy book it. It portrays one of the most horrific acts in human history, and it shows you in a way you can understand representing Nazis as cats, and Jews as mice, it shows you just how vicious, how inhumane it was,” said Michell.

Nirvana Comics is located at 6709 Kingston Pike. Anyone is welcome to grab a copy of Maus, but they are limiting it to one per person. They plan to give away copies until they run out.