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. L64

    One man and three women?

    April 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jj

    Who cares that the story might be based on truth or not? The animals in these kids stories are meant to represent humans. Ie these two "gay penguins" are representing a human gay (or different) type of family. It's cute and it's simple and if you wanna let your kid stay ignorant to different people and different type of families then don't let them borrow the book from the library. The end.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. L64

    Magoo you talkin to me?

    April 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr.magooooooooooooo

      maybe,maybe not,maybe go rub lotion on your friends back

      April 11, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. L64

    Lol umm ok

    April 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nicky

    The human divorce rate in this country is fifty percent. Wonder what it is for pengies.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr.magooooooooooooo

      did you know that almost all those divorces were because something was really gay in there relationship. I am waiting for two male polar bears holding paws frolicking about with the look of love in there eyes.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gaucho420

    People will complain about anything, especially TRUTHS that inconvenience their personal beliefs. These are the same people that 400 years ago would've burned the Penguins at the stake for saying blasphemys or god knows what else.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Philip

    Ok, I haven't read the gay penguine book and I already have questions. How does the book explain about the daddy penguin incubating the eggs as mommy penguin goes for food? And was it an adopted egg? What happened to the real mommy of the egg? And look at both male penguins. Aren't they too fat to go trekking for food? (nature fattens 'em up so they can keep the egg warm while mommy penguine brings food. She's skinny and hungry! Fat daddy penguin could never keep up) Answers? Is this book in your libary banasy? lmao

    April 11, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr.magooooooooooooo

      phillip is the name of notoriously gay people. Please stop justifying that your fat and sit at home with the egg and your under fed, under nourished wife,does all the work.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Philip

    pssssst...if ya ever wanna get under banasy's skin, libary will do it for you!

    April 11, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chris

    Apparently some people need more to do in their lives. I read this story to my boys when they were 4, we all thought it was a charming story about a family of penguins. My boys paid absolutely no attention to the fact that the penguin parents were both males, they just thought it was great that the egg had parents that cared for it. Several years later my boys are NOT gay, nor do they care, they just see people as people.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey

    I've been away on business and friendly calls, so I lost my place and want to catch up.
    How do I raise that grade?

    April 11, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr.magooooooooooooo

      you know what you have to do joey. this isn't the fist time. now go to the basement.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jim

    I've read this book. The reason it's offensive is because of the way the people in the book celebrate the gay penguins. The book implies that all the children who came to see the penguins were overjoyed with the beauty of two males raising a chick. The authors laud how natural it is (implying that my marriage to my wife is unnatural). The fact is that two male penguins raising a chick isn't natural. One of the zookeepers gave them an egg. My kids will have plenty of time to figure out what they think is an acceptable lifestyle as they get older. I don't need them reading about it in a book in elementary school.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jo

    Did it occur to anyone that perhaps both the adult males lost their mates during nesting season, and the two male penguins were simply carrying on with their genetic programing to successfully raise "their" offspring.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chris

    The entire list, not just this book but the entire list only has 400 to 500 complaints. There are 311,000,000 people in the US. So a complaint is a rare event. Close to a one in a million thing. Likely there are more people who complain about space aliens beaming secret mind control rays than about these books. Why worry about a few harmless idiots when there are worse kinds about.

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

    I wanted to ask "why" some humans are so concerned about others' use of their bodies, but the terrible truth is that I know why.
    Now about gay given names: it's news to me that Kevin and Philip are gay names. I knew about Bruce, Steve, Adam, and maybe Brad and Todd. It's easy to avoid having a gay son: name him John.
    Works every time.
    Joseph is good too, for cleaning the gay off babies.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr.magooooooooooooo

      ken is almost a given these days.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. 100Dollars

    Only racists would want "To Kill a Mockingbird" banned. Not only was that a great book, it was a great movie. Why challenge little kids ability to read this book?

    April 11, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
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