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

    Hey now! Adam is not a gay name!

    April 11, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. L64


    April 11, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. wes

    Wow you folks puttin too much on it. It's their nature to gaurd and keep the egg warm.while the other goes off
    to hunr for food. Come on now. Don't dads take care of the kid while mom may go out for a while. Jeezz. people grow wiser ok

    April 11, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe Mama

    It's funny how a lot of people on this post want to compare the Bible with this "gay" penguin story. When you don't agree with a point of view, just blame Christians and the Bible. The same thing happened in Rome when Christians were killed in the collesium by Nero and the same thing is happening here in the "virtual" world with words and threats. The same people that mock the Bible are the same people who have never read or understand the Bible. Kind of amusing and stupid at the same time.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scorp1031

      Nero did a terrible job. Nutjobs then, nutjobs now.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • XFactor

      Scorp1031: You call them nutjobs because they don't agree with everything this world says is "ok". To be a Christian is to deny oneself and live a holy life. That's the opposite of what the world tells you. So if you want to call them nutjobs, then I'm proud to be a nutjob as well. Even Jesus knew this to be true. He said and I quote: "They will hate you because of me. " So you just confirm what Jesus told us nutjobs 2000 years ago.. Thanks for confirming what we already knew!

      April 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey

    No. A guy named Ken lives over my apartment. I can't sleep at all for the screamers.
    Ken is absolutely not a gay name.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ssh710

    Were the Central Park Zookeepers gay?

    April 11, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cevink

    April 11, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. L64

    Lol Joey

    April 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy

    Blown a seal? LMAO, just to p iss you off! That one cracked me up!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    @Chris...your kids paid no attention to the fact that the penguins are gay? Then they missed the point of the book.(according to the authors, the book was written to help kids understand gayness) Try reading it to them a little slower and maybe they'll get it. @Jim...well said. Especially where you make it clear that when gay's claim it's natural for men to sleep with men, they are implying that it's not natural for men to sleep with women.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ken

    The book, written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, "We wrote the book to help parents teach children about same-se x parent families.",,,, Why do you think you needed to do this? Just to push the gqy aggenda? It's getting worse and worse with these people trying to convince everyone that they are normal and should be accepted. Come on all of you liberal Free Speech types. Did you do the same for the guy who published the pe dophile "how to" manual? Or is the gqy ag genda your main thing these days? Your current flavor of the month for the politicql cor rect crowd.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scorp1031

      So you're saying that some people should have fought for the pe dophile how-to manual to be published? Wow a pedophile conservative....thats a shocker.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Scorp1031,,,, Does your Mother know you're still up and playing on the computer? Time for you to run off and get your nap. This is for grown ups and you shouldn't be on here.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. L64

    Old joke, but always funny!

    April 11, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey

    There is a cure, at least for guys. We discovered it in college.
    If you'll notice, they all eat escargots. It you take that away from them for three months, and feed them liver, they become straight.
    For women, no watermelons, and prayer.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Stella

    Why do we keep fighting about EVERYTHING??? let's all face the facts about ourselves, do away with ALL LAWS and let the Strongest take everything for themselves. No more God, Family, Country, Borders, Morals, Future, Past, Honor, Pride and Guilt. Just TAKE and DO whatever we want to anybody. Why wait for another 10 or 20 years, let's do it NOW, or are ya CHICKEN ??

    April 11, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scorp1031

      Where's the like button when you need it?

      April 11, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • XFactor

      It's funny how this post turns into something other than the issue of the "gay" penguins. Like: Christians and God are bad. Is it God's fault that humans want to pervert themselves and go against the laws of nature? If so, then please tell me how that's God's fault. Otherwise, stop blaming God and Christians and provide "real" tangible facts about the issue instead of just blaming some group of people you don't agree with – just like the politicians do in this country. Kind of sad, but true.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jellylee2020

    I guess Christian conservatives can't really face reality. If they want to live in a world without gay people or gay animals, they should move to a different planet...and even then their offspring can be gay.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • XFactor

      I guess liberal "idiots" can't stand someone disagreeing with their point of you. Sound like people like you should go live on Mars where nobody can disagree with you and you can live like you want without someone questioning you. Sounds good to me. 🙂

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