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

    Ok Stella, just let me get my gun first!

    April 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. L64

    There are nutjobs in all walks. No one can claim them all.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey

    I was censored again, addressing Stella.
    I think my sentence was too Henry James.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. L64


    April 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey

    A how-to book for pedophiles? Cool.
    Maybe I'll read that.
    Feet are cute!

    April 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Litterboxrox

    Still not as gay as "Top Gun."

    April 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey

    Sound stupid, you said?

    April 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. L64

    I have cute feet.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey

    I knew you would.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. L64


    April 11, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. L64

    Mars...remember that movie Total Recall?

    April 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • StinkyStu

      There is also no scientific proof that Christianity helps children either but its printed more than any other book in the world. Stop being a hater before you find yourself as the hated. If you are so worried about your children becoming gay then YOU do something about it. Stop expecting everyone else to make concessions for your children.

      April 12, 2011 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
    • ladykaka

      By that logic then there is no scientific proof people are born straight either.

      April 12, 2011 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben Po

      Is there a protest over "2 1/2 Men?" It sounds like the same thing is going on with these birds.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. Lard

    [insert Chilly Willy joke here.]

    April 11, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • YBP

      You're a clever lad. Family Guy should hire you.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    Stupid people make me sad.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnny

      Yes, you do.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Edvhou's type of comments should be flagged and removed.

      April 12, 2011 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joey

    Sono andati?

    April 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mick432

    I am amazed there are bible references in a story about 2 male penguins. I have a few questions...does the bird world have a book that tells the penguins that being gay is a sin? do you think they are verbally abused by the religious right penguins? and finally are there gay penguin bars? just askin....

    April 11, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Great questions.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      The bible doesn't have to address what animals do because we should be above what animals do...which is what the bible is about. Human behavior. The thing is animals have also attached themselves to inanimate objects and treated it as a mate also. Hopefully people don't do that...

      At any rate I can understand why the author wrote this book and it might be just what some parents are seeking to explain why a friend has two mom's or two dad's...the world can be pretty confusing to little kids and maybe this would help. Doesn't sound like the author is trying to promote anything. There are books on parents divorcing....moving away..all sorts of things now for young children. Even things as simple as a child going to the dentist for the first time. They can be helpful. If parents don't like certain books then don't check them the contents that is usually addressed to the parents telling them what the book is about before they get it, cause don't know what you might be getting!

      April 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven R

      @ Julie hate to break this to you but we are animals!

      April 11, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • JW

      I have to say, many of us act like animals. But when I look at what humans are capable of, and what animals are capable of, I see a difference. It isn't easy to define or state clearly, but to me, a reasonable guy, there does seem to be a difference. We aren't just animals, for some reason we are capable of more. I don't know the reason. I don't know that that means you can't be gay. But humans aren't just animals, we are capable of rising above brute animal instincts, survival of the fittest, etc. I don't expect anyone to agree, but observe the world around you, and yourself. Men are capable of something greater . . . they don't have to be just "animals."

      April 11, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      I am amazed at your gullibility. This is the worst kind of sham "science" pushing a social agenda that there has ever been. Maybe no one told you, but the "little gay penguins" at the zoo were just practicing for normal adult relationships. The "gay" penguins at the Berlin Zoo, for example, have now taken female mates That is a common phenomenon and has nothing to do with hom-ose-xuality as practiced among humans. . You can't look to the animal world to condone or condemn human behavior.

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

      @Bojangles, why do you continue to propogate the stupidity lifestyle? It's anti-religion and definitely anti-humane! Please, seek help...

      April 12, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Hellmut

      I think Julie is thinking about the issues at hand. She needs time. From Dr. Mengele the slaughterer of Auschwitz to the priest Maximilian Kolbe whose personality made the nazi guards ask him to turn around before shoving the food in his cell because they could not bear the sight of his his humanity, there is an ocean of humanity to discover and to understand. Give her time to process, it is a wide span for a young person to process.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Tj

      Do blow up dolls count as a relationship?

      April 12, 2011 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
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