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. Kara

    Those of you using religon have no proof

    April 12, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • jojoisconfused

      Religion is a system of beliefs not proof Those of us whp have religion are a group of believers not fact finders. Seriously where do you people come from??

      April 12, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Are you saying that believing in something that has no proof is better than having facts to support something you believe? Because thats just silly lol

      April 12, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. jojoisconfused

    No Bob not at all but what I am saying is what does she want Gods voice on a tape recorder giving his secret opinion on whether or not he likes Gay people. ...That's just as absurd....Truly if you want proof go diggin'

    April 12, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Lol okay good, but what do you mean by go diggin?

      April 12, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. whisper

    Really people! You all should know about the way animals mate and reproduce. The female penguin lays the egg, and the male sits on it while the female goes out gets food. If you dumb people did not know this, then its time to watch the movie, March of the Penguins.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jojoisconfused

    Proof is based on scientific fact right? Well if you are looking for proof on a super old carbon dated religion than I suggest archaeological digs....

    April 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      I still dont quite get what you mean. How can archaeological digs prove anything other than the exact opposite of a lot of what is in the bible?

      April 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ben

    Truly pathetic. People would rather complain about a children's book than child poverty, climate change, tax cut for the super rich, cuts to education and medicare, and a plethora of other social problems. People are real dopes.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • jojoisconfused


      April 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      I agree as well but also dont see this as just about a children's book. A lot of the problems you mentioned could just be solved by raising taxes on the rich but good luck with that lol

      April 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. librarian

    Say NO to censorship!

    April 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      I'm with you. If parent don't like it, don't read it to your kids but don't tell me what I can read to mine. Don't these idiots read the book before reading it to the child?

      April 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jojoisconfused

    Well Bob It seems I don't know. I mean if that is your question I guess it depends on the religion then. Are we trying to discredit christianity as a whole or others as well? Was Buddah really that fat? Did the goddesses of India really have that many arms? Or elephant heads?

    April 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Actually no Buddah wasn't that fat.....I wasn't trying to discredit anything, just curious as to how diggin can find proof for religious beliefs as you said it could

      April 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      But in the end that doesnt matter, the only thing that matters is that people shouldnt treat others as subhuman just because they happen to be a man who loves a man or a woman who loves a woman.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jojoisconfused

    But then one has to wonder what kind of proof it was that she wanted??? I am merely saying that religious scrolls and artifacts have been found in archaeological digs but none so far have been labeled as Jesus' political views or God says be mean to thy Gay neighbor...
    ..Really I have no answers but I mean where did all these extremely old relics come from if not from historians and archaeologists. ..anyhow we are off the subject really there is no such thing as Gay penguins...and if there was they would have to adopt too LOL

    April 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • jojoisconfused

      I love my friends gay or straight and I believe that God teachings were meant solely to guide us because as long as we believe in forgivness and acceptance I think we are covered. And I mean forgiveness for those of us being bigots not those who are gay...just so no one gets the wrong idea and well said Bob

      April 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Gay behaviors, are not limited to humans, which might come as news to backward religious maniacs.

    We aren't even the only primate to exhibit such behaviors.

    People might learn something, if they pushed away from the church once in a while, where they are taught things that simply are not true.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob

    No such thing as Gay penguins.... whatever ill just leave that alone..... The proof that people use to hate gays and to say that God hates gays comes straight from the bible, and since that is supposed to be God's word then doesn't that mean he said it. And since i know you will say that the bible doesn't say to hate gays, ill go ahead and explain that a tad. It does say " God said "Hey btw all those gays are evil and we gotta hate them!"" but what it does say is that gays are an abomination and people take that to mean they should hate gays because the bible tells them so and therefore god says so.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      It doesn't say*

      April 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • jojoisconfused

      But then it is very contradictory for it to be gods word to love thy neighbor...unless thy are gay should be a stipulation if that's the case but in my case that is not the God I believe in that may be in the bible but the great thing about it being a book is you can skip the parts that annoy you πŸ˜‰

      April 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gwen

      ...Where in the Bible does it say that gays are an abomination?

      April 12, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Leviticus 18:22 β€œThou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination.”

      April 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lindsay

      Well Bobby, the bible also bans all of the following: Shaving (Leviticus 19:27), cursing (Ephesians 5:4), gossip (Leviticus 19:16), football on Saturdays (Exodus 20:8), eating lobster (Leviticus 11:10), eating pork (Leviticus 11:7), cotton/polyester blends (Leviticus 19:19), and associating with women during their time o' the month (Leviticus 15:19-20). Think about that the next time you reach for your Mach 3 turbo.

      April 13, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Preach it Lindsay, Preach it

      April 21, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • JohnC

      This reminds me of "Guns don't kill people. People kill people."

      Well God doesn't discriminate, people discriminate. There is no such thing as gay, or straight. These are labels that humans apply to things so they can classify, pass judgement, feel superior, or whatever other dangerous purpose they may seek from such labels. Wake up.

      God isn't a discriminating jerk. People that live in the dark ages of belief take care of that themselves. Wake up before you destroy our planet.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jojoisconfused

    P.s. I said I was a ctholic that doesn't necessarily mean I am the greatest by the book catholic ever...

    April 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Well good, im glad you are able to ignore the retarded stuff that was added into the bible so Men(i guess straight men) could rule easier. Unfortunately more often than not people arent going to skip over those parts and will read it as God's word. But like you said, if God is real, and im not saying one way or the other, then there is no way that he could say things like love thy neighbor and other things like that and believe gays are an abomination. That is a great example as to why im agnostic and not willing to pretend like I have the ability to know if there is a God or not. No man can. They might believe there is a God but there's no man made object that can prove it and theres likely not going to be.

      April 12, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. danig

    Of course Bob is correct we shouldn't mistreat others simply for loving someone that is the same gender...btw rick mcdaniel is also correct, gay behaviors have been reported in various species including primates, fish, birds. These facts have been established by National Geographic, Live Science, among others. Reports also find that discriminstory

    April 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cookie

    Were the penguins actually gay or were they just working together to save penguin babies? Seriously, since one of them has since hooked up with a guess is that they were just doing the right thing by the baby penguins. In any case, adoptive gay parents do need books that their kids can relate to. As a divorced Mom, I can tell you I had a heck of a time finding children's books about a Mom and son...all I could find were stories about a child and a Dad with no Mom. Gay or straight, the penguin story is a true story so I don't see anything wrong with it. Its not some kind of gay indoctrination book-so I fail to see the problem.

    April 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jojoisconfused

    Well thanks for the memories Bob. That was quite a discussion. I rather enjoyed it. Not bad for my first time on a CNN comment feed. All I can say is if more people couls put their differences aside this would be a nicer country to live in. Black , White, straight, Gay, Republican, democrat.. we are all just flesh and blood we all are born the same and die evetually at least make it a good life!!

    April 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      I agree that was a great discussion between two people who dont see exactly eye to eye but didnt let it turn into an argument, we need more of that in this country. And btw this was also my first time commenting on an article lol

      April 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. danig

    accidentally pressed publish button too soon. Anyways, studies show along with gay behavior in animals the other animalsalso don't seem to b discrimanating towards the gay ones, as humans are. Maybe religion plays a part in that.

    April 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
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