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. Dontbefooled

    God is real and He is good. He created male and female to be together. He also gave us free will. You

    April 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. blahblah!

    Yall should read leviticus18:22. You need to repent to be forgiven!

    April 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. antlermom

    Sweet Jesus. Parents, make the decisions for what literature your child is enfluenced by. Whether you are liberal, conservative, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, WHATEVER, are you relying on any earthly governing agency to determine your family's influences? Isnt that the PARENTS' job? I have my belief and I love sharing it with my children. ITS MY JOB. I take pride in raising my children the way I see fit. It is not up to ANYONE else. Write books, songs, television programs, movies, blogs, do what you want. Im smart enough to keep my children on a righteous path, and its none of your business how I do it. This issue is for weak-hearted frightened people to get confused and angry over. Bashing someones' faith/ belief system is no answer to ANYTHING. Have you learned nothing from history? You need me to hear how you believe in evolution but the human race is not included? Christianity does not teach to hate ANYONE. Buddhism, same. Judaism, same. Hinuism, same. etc etc. I wouldnt trust a government official to hold my purse, let alone decide what my kid can read or not read. Thats how we got in the mess we are all in today- waiting for OUR DEAR LEADER to decide what your child should read, eat, watch, etc. Pull up your big-kid pants and be diligent. Teach them to love and let God stand in judgement.

    April 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • One

      Some parents aren't as logical. They see it as their responsibility to not only "protect" their children, but all children who could be exposed to the Devil's literature.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • antlermom

      One~ agreed. I pray for all. No exceptions.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy


    Yes, we have this book at my branch. And you know what? There has never been a complaint lodged at my branch, or any branch in our system, as far as anybody knows. And it's library, ya chucklebunny! 😉

    April 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. What?

    With all that is actually happening in this world, THIS is what parents are complaining about? Just shows you where some peoples' priorities are. Sheesh.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. will

    So let me get this right... After the book was published, one of the so called "gay" penguins got it right and found a woman and the other is standing in a corner contemplating how messed up he must have been. At least the animal kingdom is trying to get it right.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • antlermom

      Hahaaha! Perfect note to end this mess with!

      April 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      i feel sorry for you two. filled with such hate that must of taken the place of understanding. one day when you die you will realize how much of ur life was wasted on hating stuff you didnt understand and didnt take the time to understand. And the animal kingdom already has it right, the other penguins allowed the gay penguins too adopt their own egg and accepted them for who they are

      April 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • antlermom

      Thanks, Bob! I love pity from ignorant conflicted bored boring jacknuts. You missed my post just above this one. Judge lest you be judged. Clown.

      April 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      No i saw it, but you know saying one thing and then doing another kinda negates what you said.

      April 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jojoisconfused

    YAY BOB!!!

    April 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Centaur

    Perhaps a more acceptable (and realistic) storyline could go like this: a society of penguins prevents a couple of male penguins from caring for a hatchling because it is "non-traditional and un-natural". The little hatchling dies of neglect. The end.

    April 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Hahaha thats great but sad at the same time. Too bad humans can't be more like penguins

      April 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeffision

    Visualize a post-religious era of sanity.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Centaur

      Wouldn't that be a beautiful thing? Even for those who believe in God. It is possible to believe in God without subscribing to religious dogma. I believe in a God that is far more loving and benevolent than the god depicted in the Bible.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Therese

    Wow, I cannot believe all the belligerent hateful name-calling against conservative Christians. I just briefly read through most of these posts, and I'm disgusted with all of you who are bashing anyone who voices any opinion that doesn't agree with the liberal gay agenda. They have the right to disagree, and to be able to disagree without all the hate mongering. Why is it not ok to trash gays, minorities, etc, but it is ok for you to do the same to those who disagree with you? It is sickening.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. Oli

    @ antlermom ... please go away and find a new country to live in. I just hope that none of your kids/grandkids turn out gay, otherwise you would simply turn your back on em. What kind of church do you go to? Do you even belong to one? you're so mean ... another fake Christian I suppose ... carrying your bible and just hating everyone and anything ..

    April 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jessica Best cams

    Interesting blog. I think I saw a gay like him, on Thank you for sharing it. Take a look, pls

    October 2, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. tigresse

    If parents took their responsibilities more seriously, they would see they – and only they – not some religious dogma or state agency – are responsible for what their children read. In a society of permissiveness, we like to blame "others". Parents need to step up to bat on this issue. The book is really more of an allegory about addressing some current social issue regarding gender and family roles. Gays shouldn't be punished for being gay, just as in God's eyes, we don't punish someone for being a Muslim, Jew, Hindu or Christian. While I'm not into religious dogma as the guiding principle of morality, I do believe that God is a LOVING god, and therefore, a tolerant one, regardless of gender, skin color or other non-manipulable variables that make up the human race.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
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