The PERSEPOLIS ban inspired its own book of graphic non-fiction

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While attempts at book bans and censorship in the United States have reached an all-time high in the past two years, they are also nothing new. In 2013, graduate student in library science Jarrett Dapier filed a Freedom of Information Act request that made public the Chicago Public School District’s attempt to quietly remove Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis from school libraries and classrooms.

Persepolis is a highly acclaimed graphic memoir of the author’s life growing up in Iran, and emails have shown that the title was taken down from schools without going through the formal book challenge process.

News of the ban caused a public outcry, particularly after Dapier reported his discovery to the news and the ALA. The ALA later awarded Dapier the John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award for “upholding the principles of intellectual freedom”.

Now Dapier is turning this story into his own non-fiction graphic work called Wake up now in the fire. It is illustrated by AJ Dungo and follows a group of Chicago high school students who fight back against censorship attempts at their own school. It will be published in the fall of 2023 by Chronicle Books.

While the Chicago public school ban will have taken place 10 years before this headline was published, it unfortunately remains relevant as thousands of books have been challenged in 2021 using similar logic that was applied to this case. . In reality, Persepolis itself is currently disputed in Pennsylvania. Hopefully, this book will empower students to fight these ongoing censorship attempts, even though they shouldn’t have to fight to protect their First Amendment rights.

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