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. Sick And Tired Of The Liberal Left

    Push your liberal agendas somewhere besides my childrens' school library where children are free to read any books they like without their parents' knowledge or guidance. Parents are supposed to be the ones teaching their children about difficult subjects, but liberals take that right away by pushing their agendas in schools. Liberals have no business sneaking their agendas into my children's library books.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoeT

      With parents like you, liberals almost have a duty to make books like this available for consumption. Maybe, just maybe, the next generation can be better.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • irene

      Nobody tells you that your religion is offensive, (and it is deeply offensive to many) so what gives you the right? Get over it, Gay people are here and they're not going away just because you don't like it. What gives you the right to censor public libraries anyway?

      April 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cletus

      Only idiots need censorship. I guess you are calling your child an idiot.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr.magooooooooooooo

      Is it gay for me to rub your back and tell you sweet nothings. Life is about one man,three women and straight up missionary. and nothing else or you die and go to hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      April 11, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Destiny

      I suppose you would, however, approve of a conservative agenda in schools?

      April 12, 2011 at 5:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Tx

      In Texas, the state school board is pushing a specific right wing agenda. They are trying to take Thomas Jefferson out of the history books, because he was an agnostic. Is this any more appropriate for a state school system to do? Would you approve of taking the writer of the Declaration of Independence out history, if he was a gay penguin?

      April 12, 2011 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Brian

    Seriously, the Bible, the Koran, The Torah, and especially the Book of Morman are what people should be complaining about. I would rather have my daughter read about Gay penguins than that least I can point to a gay couple and explain to her something that is real. Instead of .... No sweetie, if I set this bush on fire, it's not going to talk to you...and no you cannot live inside a giant fish...and I have no idea how someone died, was put into a cave and three days later came out a chocolate bearing rabbit?

    April 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. irene

    The h-o-m-o-phobes in this country have entirely too much power. It's time for them to get over it and to get over themselves!

    April 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoeT

      The word is "denial." Ever notice the number of ardent conservative culture warriors who later come out?

      April 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • irene

      Yes, it is freaking hilarious every time one of those bible thumpers gets caught in a public men's room famous for gay activity with his pants down. (literally) It's time to put an end to this nonsense. Tax all the churches for the businesses that they really are and enact laws that limit their intrusion on the peaceful co-existence for the rest of us who don't need a book of fairy tales about war, death, slavery, and vindictiveness to tell us how to live.!

      April 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      You know why they have too much power, Irene? Because not enough liberals VOTE! Unless you want the teabaggers running this country, get out and vote, get your friends to vote, get on the phone with your favorite progressive political organization and get people out to the polls. Or else have someone telling you what books you can and can't read.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey

    @ Edwin,
    I answered your question regarding the Devil (or, in this case, two demons) clinically and, I thought, imaginatively, but it was not published.
    I apologize for my shortcomings.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mark from Middle River

    Effie, the problem with this type of issue is that folks can't just live their lives and I mean on both sides of this debate. I am not sure that one side has the moral high ground on this issue but what is within their own peer group.

    everyone has an agenda and pretty sure each side thinks the others are idiots.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • irene

      No – the conservatives use their tax-free churches to impose their warped agenda on the rest of us. Nobody is trying to recruit gays – you either are or you aren't. This would not be an issue in the first place if the conservatives would just mind their own business.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. L64

    Hey Joey.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. the_dude

    I love it when gays say the "had" a baby. No you didn't. You paid a normal person to have it for you.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • irene

      Dude: Gay is also normal. Bigotry is abnormal!

      April 11, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey

    Hey yourself, L64!
    It was in the 70s today here.
    I'm still down about that C- I got.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Colin

    Fianlly, an explanation for the greenhouse effect. It is the Christian god punishing these penguins for their disgusting behavior. Quick, somebody tell Pat Robertson.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. somuchfor

    The sad thing is that this story is based on a real life occurrence where two male penguins bonded. Complaining about the real world and trying to shield your children from the true nature of the world accomplishes what?

    April 11, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Colin

    Imagine being censored by an evangelical Christian. This is what frightens me most aout letting the mind reading sky fairy crowd ever get power in this country.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mr.magooooooooooooo

    whats wrong with two penguins sharing the most intimate of moments? of course they are confused. They were born in a zoo, like most gay people.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey

    Love watching this.
    It's hot.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. L64

    Lol Joey! Beautiful day here, too. About that can raise it!

    April 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr.magooooooooooooo

      what liberal agenda are you implying here. sounds like some one's up for an A. plus

      April 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ken

    Every child should read this book.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr.magooooooooooooo

      if your name is ken you are for sure gay.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
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