Mercedes Schneider writes that it is literally impossible to ban a book that is easily available on the Internet. The school board of McMinn County, Tennessee, voted unanimously to ban a Pulitzer-prize winning graphic novel about the Holocaust called MAUS.

But, she points out, students can find it for free on the Internet.

Furthermore, banning a book is a sure fire way to motivate students to want to read it. They might want to see for themselves the awful words “God Damn” or see nude mice.

Schneider writes:

If parents want to control what their children read, they might consider refocusing their school-district, book-banning attention toward controlling content on their children’s iPhones, iPads, and other electronic devices. As of this writing, three of Art Speigelman’s Maus book series are rated, 2, 3, and 7 on Amazon’s best sellers

In response to the ban, a Knoxville, Tennessee, comic book store is giving away free copies of Maus to students who wish to read the book.

As it stands, readers can also do what my colleague’s son did with Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four: Read it online for free. Here’s the first in the series: Maus: A Survivor’s Tale (1986).

(Note that the above text is available on Internet Archive, which is involved in a June 2020 lawsuit brought forth by several publishers. Internet Archive maintains it offers the books under “fair use.”)

Book bans backfire: they increase sales. And they encourage students to seek them out and read them. School boards should not embarrass themselves by acting as censors.