Book banning is a surefire way to draw a lot of attention. The Chicago Public School system has found this to be true.
In a bureaucratic faux pas, the board looked at Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel and found a single panel that they deemed offensive to young minds.
Therefore, as the guardian of said young minds, CPS decreed that Persepolis had to go.
Kids grow up so fast these days. Who would have imagined that high school students could actually be mature enough to handle a picture suggesting the torture of women in Iran?
The students did what students do with all their free time because they can't find part-time jobs. They protested. They caused a commotion. They drew attention to the issue.
Our bad said CPS. We meant the seventh grade curriculum should not include the book. It's fine for the eleventh grade, those kids who are old enough to drive a car.
But re-installing the book in the high school curriculum was not enough to end the discussion.
It's the content of the book, you see. Ms. Satrapi writes of a young girl coming of age during the Iranian revolution, and how she views the hypocrisy of religious fascism. The book deals with the concept of women's rights against a backdrop of brutal misogyny.
The average seventh grader is not unfamiliar with the themes. They aren't living in protected bubbles, not in a city where children their own age are getting shot and killed in the crossfire of gang warfare.
And they can understand the drawings and follow the plot of Persepolis visually. Considering the fact that most kids in the Chicago public school system never learn how to read at an advanced level, it's a rare chance for them to learn something that is presented in an accessible way.
Is it any wonder that the students are protesting the removal of a book from the grade school library?