Top library complaint: Story about same-sex penguin couple
Two male Chinstrap penguins like these formed a real-life romantic attachment which led to a children's book, says The New York Times.
April 11th, 2011
03:28 PM ET

Top library complaint: Story about same-sex penguin couple

It seems like a children's book about penguins hatching a baby at the Central Park Zoo in New York would be a cute story for parents to read to their kids.

"And Tango Makes Three" is such a story, with one twist, the adult penguins are both male.

The book, written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, has once again topped the American Library Association list of the 10 most frequently challenged books.

According to a news release from the ALA: "A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness."

"And Tango Makes Three" is based on a true story about two chinstrap penguins named Roy and Silo. Interestingly, Roy and Silo - after the book was published - split. Silo started hanging out with Scrappy, a female, according to the paper of record on this story, The New York Times. And Roy, the paper said, was just standing in a corner.

Author Justin Richardson told the Times in 2005, he was not broken up by the break-up, adding:

"We wrote the book to help parents teach children about same-sex parent families. It's no more an argument in favor of human gay relationships than it is a call for children to swallow their fish whole or sleep on rocks."

Still, the book was often publicly challenged for what some said were homosexual undertones. others have said it is inappropriate for children. The book topped the complaint list in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Last year, it was second on the list behind Lauren Myracle's series that includes "ttyl," "ttfn," "l8r" and "g8r."

The list is based on about 400 to 550 complaints a year compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

The No. 2 book this year was "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," a young adults book of fiction based on the real-life experiences of author Sherman Alexie at a predominantly white high school.

Four books including "Catcher in the Rye" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" did not make the list this year.

The list is part of the library association's The State of America's Libraries report.

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soundoff (467 Responses)
  1. Patty

    WOW!! All this over a book about gay penquins. Get over it!! Gays were walking this earth long before any of us. The bible was written 2 thousand years after christ, who actually knew him? The bible was written by biblical scholars and then re-written many times over. I am a catholic!!! I do believe in christ but not as the bible protrays him...
    How is my spelling DIM MAK!!!


    April 12, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. Patty

    Salvice. R U referring to my post?

    April 12, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Emmy

    Wow. It always amazes me how much time people spend looking for things to be offended about. Ridiculous.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. 20 Year Veggie

    I bought that book specifically because the idiots were flipping out about it. And it's a really cute book!! We love it!

    April 12, 2011 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Damian


    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by
    other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people
    evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical
    claim that we were created from dirt.

    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah,
    but you don`t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered
    all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic
    groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods
    sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit
    impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back
    to life and then ascended into the sky.

    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically
    established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing
    dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that
    Earth is a few generations old.

    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those
    who share your beliefs - though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity
    in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant"
    and "loving."

    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to
    convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues"
    may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers.
    You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the
    remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the
    Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Dubhly

      Love it Damian, great post.

      April 12, 2011 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
    • patience

      You'll come around. 🙂

      April 12, 2011 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
    • antlermom

      You're sooooo ignorant.

      April 12, 2011 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
    • CTL

      Top 10 signs you are an atheist:
      1-9: I don't need to prove anything to you crazy Christians.
      10: Something witty to make this post legit.

      April 12, 2011 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
    • lilwoofer

      Awesome post. So true...

      April 12, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Eden

      Live a little...

      April 12, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. heather

    you can't equate learning lessons from this book or any other book to learning lessons from the bible. the lesson that we may learn from this expands ouur understanding of what we preceive reality to be. but to learn from that bible you have to precede with the belief that the reality but forth is what is real. women would have to be worth less than men. women were not even in god's paln. he only made eve to keep adam company. which means that there was not supposed to be a human race. adam was supposed to be the only human. you can not subject the lessons in the bible to the same standards as you do books written by man. look, if jesus as the son of god and had no biological father, he would have been female because he would have been mary's clone. the lessons learned from this book vs. the bible's is just not a valid arguement

    April 12, 2011 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. urignorant

    Damien – thanks for such a great example of how ignorant people are of te bible and it's teachings. You and many others should read it, study the cultures that existed and then compare them to today. The problem is you are a fool. You do not understand what you are saying and think these people today which you talk about. Are christians and they are not. They are the lost you have been mislead. True christians will embrace and love their fellow inhabitants of this world and know that regardless of how someone thinks or behaves they are required by God to love and show them compassion and to NOT judge them. These people who speak out with hatred and pass judgement are false christians and do not speak for us.

    April 12, 2011 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
    • patience

      Hear, hear!

      April 12, 2011 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
    • atozebra

      Matthew 5:22

      But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

      Whoops! Silly Christian. Read your book.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Name*Deevah

    What no Harry Potter?? Teaching about witchcraft so they can worship the devil. Silly people.

    April 12, 2011 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mark Yelka

    "Biological Exuberance: Animal Hom**exuality and Natural Diversity" (Stonewall Inn Editions) (Paperback) by Bruce Bagemihl.

    Yes, there is plenty of scientific evidence. In short: the percentage of same-s*x behaviors is a fixed constant for each species. This behavior is linked with societal roles that helps the survival of the species.

    April 12, 2011 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. Disappointed

    It's amazing to me that stupid ppl never tire of trying to keep others down. Some of you really are quite pathetic.

    April 12, 2011 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
  11. FubarObama

    Obama's books should be on this list.. They are all lies

    April 12, 2011 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. N

    Where did the egg come from?

    April 12, 2011 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
    • JulieJo

      A couple who laid two eggs but were not able to care for both. I am surprised the Christians don't see this as a right to life book.

      April 12, 2011 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. Brian

    I'm gay and I love it. Go ahead and hate me! You still wont be happy and guess what, I'll still be gay. Just worry about yourself and leave the penguins alone.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. Fred Magyar

    Gay penguins? They're not as flamboyant as the pair of gay flamingos, Carlos and Fernando in Britain that have been successfully raising chicks for many years. Maybe someone should write a children's book about them too.

    People who don't accept nature as it truly is, are more bizarre than gay birds...

    April 12, 2011 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  15. TD7777

    Gay people are nasty, gay penguins ,however, are kinda cute.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
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