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. StinkyStu

    You Christians need to STFU. This planet belongs to me and other Atheists. According to that book about all the gay guys that followed Jesus around, you guys are no more than tourists. GTFO.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. cpc65

    "...than it is a call for children to swallow their fish whole or sleep on rocks." ~ I thought that was the main point of the story? Now I have to get rid of all these fish and buy a bed at some discount furniture pit.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |

    I would suggest that children learn some important facts about the bird first!March of the Penguins would be a good way to teach some interesting and hard truth about the bird. As for the comments re: the Bible..Those things you do not understand, I suggest you do not comment on. There will be a time when all your ignorance will be given a truth..:I hope you all have long legs! Because you will all be taken to kicking yourself in the ASS for your ignorance on the matters of God,and human nature!

    April 12, 2011 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Andrew

    I fully support gay rights.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. I am so angry


    April 12, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. indyreader

    All the anti-intellectual crap that's out there, and all the downright stupidity shoved through printing presses, and THIS is the most egregious thing people have found to whine about? Astounding. Don't want your children to read it? Don't let them. Don't dictate to the library system what they can and can't make available for others.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. StupidAmerican

    Hey, if we can have political books about gays for children, can we have a political book for children about how the government is run by evil corporations that start wars for profit, and about how most of our possessions, including our closets full of clothes, are made by slave labor in China and elsewhere? I mean, if gay relationships are appropriate for kids, I think this stuff should be too.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Your name really does say all we need to know about you.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. JustMe

    I'm confused....I'm raising my child as a moran? What's a moran? Ohh...the poster meant MORON!

    April 12, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. etta, daniel okim

    i will suggest that authors should consider the negative side of a script on the readers because the whole idea is to pass on a message to the public.
    secondly stories that are complex should be clearly explained to children by parents in order to avoid spreading or carrying wrong ideas about a book or the author!

    April 12, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • StupidAmerican

      Definitely, after reading this book with your child, you should explain to him or her that the author has a political agenda and that he is trying to convince everyone that putting your penor in another boy's pooper is perfectly normal and doesn't smell.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tom

    It's really sad that people want to take books away from children in an attempt to shield them. I wonder if they restrict television, family vacations, and magazines because theirl children might accidentally see people in swimming suits ...

    April 12, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. BuzzMann

    I just thought of a new business opportunity, installing incinerators at all public libraries.There has to millions to be made if you get in on the start.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • StupidAmerican

      It would be easier to just quit teaching children to read altogether.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Reese

      Fahrenheit 451 anyone?

      April 12, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. mcfresh

    just get mcfresh with it

    April 12, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tom

    Guys, I love God...that does NOT make me a moron, or anything approaching one. Let me tell you, I am sick and tired of hyper-radical Christians who deny evolution and gay rights....but I am even more sick and tired of atheists who hear the word "God" and assume that the speaker is a backwards bigot. That's not how it works. Those who equate "Christian" with "idiot" are just as ridiculous and discriminatory as the strawman you attack.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. arkbiz

    Aren't America's conservatives a national embarrassment?!

    April 12, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. KateB

    Sounds like something that would be on Parks and Rec. Oh, wait...

    April 12, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
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