Robot 6 reports that Marjane Satrapi's excellent memoir about growing up in Iran, Persepolis, has been banned from the curriculum in Chicago Public Schools. In response, teachers and parents are planning a protest that will start in about an hour.
Persepolis is included as a selection in the Literacy Content Framework for seventh grade. It was brought to our attention that it contains graphic language and images that are not appropriate for general use in the seventh grade curriculum. If your seventh grade teachers have not yet taught this book, please ask them not to do so and to remove any copies of the book from their classrooms.
We have determined Persepolis may be appropriate for junior and senior students and those in Advance Placement classes. Due to the powerful images of torture in the book, I have asked our Office of Teaching & Learning to develop professional development guidelines, so that teachers can be trained to present this strong, but important content. We are also considering whether the book should be included, after appropriate teacher training, in the curriculum of eighth through tenth grades. Once this curricular determination has been made, we will notify you.
It's been a few years since I last read Persepolis, but I don't recall anything too outrageous in it. Satrapi's artwork is very intentionally simplistic; there's definitely no gore, although Iranian history is addressed fairly straightforwardly in the book. It's ironic in an Alanis Morrisette kind of way that a book about the effects of censorship and government control has been singled out by a public school board for censorship, while books like Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games are often taught to kids. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he'll "look into" this. Hopefully, he's swearing at somebody right now.