Massive school closings, epic teacher layoffs. Chicago Public Schools officials had plenty to answer for in 2013. So much that their decision in the spring to yank Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel/memoir “Persepolis” out of schools and libraries because of a complaint (about a single image of torture) became something of a cultural blip. But what a blip: The banning led students at Lane Tech to rally against censorship in the rain outside their school. Which led to the news spreading internationally, the irony of the banned selection particularly poignant. (The 13-year-old book tells the story of Satrapi’s childhood in culturally repressive Iran.) Which gave 451 Degrees, an obscure student book club at Lane Tech that reads only banned books, a popularity it couldn’t have achieved on its own. Six months later — long after the outcry led to CPS telling its principals to reinstate “Persepolis” — 451 Degrees, founded by 16-year-old senior Levi Todd, was given the Illinois Library Association’s prestigious Intellectual Freedom Award.
From the Chicago Trib, via Mike Klonsky’s Small Talk blog: