International Banned Book Pick: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

A New York Times Notable Book
A Time Magazine “Best Comix of the Year”
A San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times Best-seller

Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.

“Removed, via a district directive, from all Chicago, Ill. public schools (2013) due to ‘graphic illustrations and language’ and concerns about ‘developmental preparedness’ and ‘student readiness.’ Seventh- and eleventh-grade students study the graphic novel about the author’s experience growing up in Iran during the Iranian revolution as part of Chicago Public Schools’ Literacy Content Framework. As the news spread of the directive, students mobilized a media campaign in opposition to ‘banning a book that’s all about the freedom of speech.’ Students took to their Facebook and Twitter accounts, checked out all library copies of the book, wrote blogs, sent e-mails, wrote investigative articles for the student newspaper, contacted the author, staged protests, and appeared on local radio and television programs. Eventually the school issued a letter telling high school principals to disregard the earlier order to pull the book. The book was a New York Times Notable Book, a Time Magazine “Best Comix of the Year,” and a San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times bestseller. A film version was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 80th Academy Awards in 2007.”
Taken from “2013-2014 Books Challenged or Banned”

“Challenged, but retained on the Glenwood High School reading list in Chatham, Ill. (2014). A parent condemned the images of dismembered bodies and a guard using urine as a form of torture. The book tells the story of a young girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution of 1979 and the reintroduction of a religious state. The graphic novel has been praised for teaching students about diversity and different points of view, but it also contains intense language, images, and themes.”
Taken from “Books Challenged or Banned, 2014-2015”


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