Book banning, unfortunately, is nothing new. In fact, protagonists have showed up against book burning in popular culture for years from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to Field of Dreams. In the midst of another wave of organized attempts at the banning of books, readers who advocate for the freedom to read have been interested in reading the books in question for themselves. As one of the more discussed titles, Maus by Art Spiegelman, a graphic novel depicting the events of the Holocaust in which anthropomorphic animals stand in for humans, has seen a high uptick in interest at libraries across the country, DC Public Library included.
If you are waiting for your turn to read Maus, here are eight comics (meaning both graphic novels and graphic nonfiction) that have faced bans and challenges you won’t want to miss.
It’s worth noting that while many of these titles are intended for children and/or teens -- perhaps as a consequence of book bans most often challenging materials intended for children and those challenges frequently occurring in the context of schools and school libraries -- they can be enjoyed by adults, too.
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
A theater lover, Callie usually spends her time behind the scenes. With her school putting on Moon over Mississippi, Callie has taken on the role of set designer. But she quickly runs into trouble realizing her carpentry knowledge is next to none, the cast is having trouble selling tickets, and not everyone is getting along. Then, a couple of cute brothers step on the scene and Callie suddenly has a new love in addition to theatre in her life. Also available as an ebook, in Spanish, and as an ebook in Spanish.
Bone: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith
When Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone are banished from Boneville after another of Phoney Bone’s schemes, the cousins end up on an adventure they could never forget. Soon confronted with all sorts of mysterious creatures, the Bones learn what life outside of Boneville is like while running into new shenanigans on the road. Continue the series with Bone: The Great Cow Race.
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
A memoir reflecting on Bechdel’s relationship with her deceased father, Fun Home describes the author’s childhood as the daughter of a man who served both as an English teacher and the town’s funeral home director. Shortly after coming out as an adult, Bechdel discovered her father, too, was gay. But only weeks after learning this about him, Bechdel’s father passed away, leaving her to process everything she thought she knew. Also available as an ebook.
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
Revisiting the ages of six to fourteen in this memoir, author Marjane Satrapi describes her experiences in the Islamic Revolution in her home country of Iran. Observing the effects of the Revolution, Satrapi rebels as she can, still trying to survive in a regime that threatens her whole being. Continue the series with Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return and watch the movie, Persepolis.
The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the Creators of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
A spin-off of the popular Captain Underpants, Super Diaper Baby positions fourth-grade characters George and Harold as its authors. No longer allowed to write Captain Underpants stories, the boys endeavor to start a new series with Super Diaper Baby who, like Captain Underpants, is tasked with saving the world from zany villains to a tune of hilarity. Also available as an ebook. Continue the series with Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers.
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
Summer friends Rose and Winnie are getting older and find the world is changing with them. This one summer, the two meet up again while big family changes threaten comfort and others on Awago Beach meet intense drama of their own that Rose and Winnie can’t help but watch from the sidelines. Also available as an ebook.
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
The beginning of an epic story, this first volume brings star-crossed lovers together despite the war that has them fighting opposite sides. With danger around every corner, Marko and Alana try to raise their newborn while endeavoring to survive and encountering all sorts of beings. Also available as an ebook. Continue the series with Saga Volume Two.
Stuck in the Middle edited by Ariel Schrag
In seventeen stories, this collection of stories illustrates the trials and tribulations of middle school from those who have been there. Focusing on seventh and eighth grade, these stories bring laughs and grim faces to the page with the realities of those middling middle years.