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‘Persepolis’ reportedly removed from Chicago Public Schools [Updated]

Persepolis

Persepolis

Reports began circulating last night that Chicago Public Schools has instituted a ban on Marjane Satrapi’s 2000 graphic novel Persepolis. Copies of the book apparently were taken Wednesday afternoon from Lane Tech College Prep High School, one of the oldest, largest schools in the city, as a preamble to a district-wide ban.

ROBOT 6 reached out to the CPS press office this morning and has been promised a response by the end of the day.

Word spread through a post on the parent/teacher news blog CPS Chatter that included a photo of an e-mail (below) from Lane Tech Principal Christopher Dignam to his staff regarding the move. The only reason given was a directive handed down from a regular Chief of Schools meeting held Monday.

Retired CPS teacher Fred Klonsky had more information on his blog, noting a report from one teacher that “News on social media boards yield that CPS is claiming that there was a set of new books sent to schools and the distributor included copies of this one by mistake. Since CPS hadn’t paid for them, schools were asked to pull the books and send them back. ‘a mix-up.’ The books, in fact, were purchased some years ago by an English teacher when she applied (and received) a grant to pay for them.”

The story of Satrapi’s own experience as a young girl living through Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Persepolis has experienced near-universal acclaim, winning, among other awards, the American Library Association’s Alex Award for adult books that have special appeal to teenage readers.

UPDATE (9:46 a.m.): DNAinfo Chicago reports teachers, parents and students are planning a protest this afternoon in response to the graphic novel’s removal. The website spoke to a representative for Pantheon Books, Satrapi’s North American publisher, who noted that Persepolis has never been banned in the United States.

UPDATE 2 (10:38 a.m.): Mayor Rahm Emanuel has told DNAinfo Chicago he’ll “take a look into” the book’s removal.

UPDATE 3 (12:50 p.m.): Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has told principals to disregard the previous directive. However, she’s asked that Persepolis not be taught to seventh-graders.

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21 Comments

oh boy, ‘clever’ titles alluding to antiquity or greek myth: seriously getting on my nerves.

(that is unless Persepolis is really prominently featured in the book)

I love people who make comments about books they’ve never read.

Congrats McKracken, wou win the Dumbass Comment of The Day award.

Persepolis was the capital of persia. This book takes place in Iran, also known as Persia. read a thing or two!

@mckracken She named the book after an ancient city in Iran’s history while discussing the more recent history of Iran. Seems like a fairly appropriate choice of title without being completely literal.

ok so, Persepolis is not featured in the book – just like i figured.

@McKracken

Did you completely ignore the reply to your comment?

and i have no interest in the subject matter:
Islamic regimes repress women and personal freedom.

It would be like reading a week old newspaper….

>and i have no interest in the subject matter:
>Islamic regimes repress women and personal freedom.

>It would be like reading a week old newspaper…

no, it would be like hearing the story from the voice of one of the women.
it’s quite different.

This book is ABOUT the oppressive religious theocracy that forced the author to leave her home country as a teenager and has left her an exile, and her struggle to find and maintain an identity that both is and is not Iranian. Persepolis doesn’t support the oppression of women at all, nor does it support the repressive Islamic regime that took over the country after the removal of the Shah from power. So either you are just an Islamophobe, or you have no idea what you are talking about.

I’m calling mckracken out now: this Irish sea monster is a troll.

Mckraken, using your logic, then let’s get rid of “The Miracle Worker”, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, “Black Like Me” and any other book that reeks of “week old newspaper.” And while we’re at it, just dump Schindler’s List from the AV dept. , WWII is yesterday’s news and unworthy of any attention.

Sure, the fact that Islamic regimes are repressive isn’t news, but Persepolis is the story of an individual’s struggle and having read the comic and seen the movie, I just have to shake my head at the massive block of ignorance and indifference to the *content* of this work. This work is about resisting against repression and is very humanistic and universal.

Hopefully you will, one day, open the windows of your mind and see what’s outside of your little world.

mckracken, I will personally travel back in time 13 years, tell Satrapi to name the book something else, or better yet, just forget it because by 2013 everyone will know that Islamic regimes repress women and no one will want to read a first-hand account of someone going through a massive cultural shift.

To quote The Big Lebowski:

“So you have no frame of reference here, Donny. You’re like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie.”

Roquefort Raider

March 15, 2013 at 11:10 am

If there’s a book that REALLY belongs in a school library, it’s that one. It gives a first-person account of what life is in a country that most westerners know very little about, and as such should be seen as a rare and precious resource. It’s also a moving story about self-identity and about growing up. It seems to be far more appropriate for the formation of young minds than books about vampires, wizards or other innocuous fantasies.

In fairness, and just to give the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the books are being removed from the library system in order for a curriculum to be designed and implemented based on them.

A similar thing was done with “The Westing Game” when I was in middle school. The teacher was EXTREMELY upset when she found out I’d read it a year earlier

So perhaps the book is being removed as a precursor to such a move.

I just came here to say this mckraken fellow is a fudgin’ idiot :)

Seeing as how my previous comment was deleted (most likely due to my calling out the moron McKracken)…

What I said was that PERSEPOLIS is not only a wonderful book but an IMPORTANT book. It should be in all school libraries along with MAUS, IN THE SHADOW OF NO TOWERS, LETTERS FROM SARAJEVO and the like. Sadly, many “educators” have yet to see the value of “graphic storytelling” as an educational tool. It’s a shame.

why should it matter when you read the book. i assume this is for literature subject? not sure how the schools work here. they are very antiquated. they should have a selection of books at the beginning of the year from which students can select books to read and analyze.
persepolis is great.

“WWII is yesterday’s news and unworthy of any attention.”

so true. sick of ww2.

I annoyed that mckracken comment is first. He clearly didn’t actually read the article and made a comment that he thought made him look smart and then tries to acts all nonchalant when his ignorance was pointed out.
The comments should be about the book and about comics in schools.
I see no problems giving Persepolis to my 11 year old nephew, but the CEO of the schools doesn’t want it to be taught to 7th graders? What age do you think would be to young for this book?

When I was in school comics where not used or in the school’s library.
What books are in schools now? Maus? Bone?

acespot: I hope your are right.

@Gcat: Actually it is hilarious that mckracken’s comment is first because now everybody can see the epic fail! Someone should take a screenshot of his comment and make it one of those Facebook jokes! :p

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