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

    Singing or asking a question?

    April 11, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NireGoGo

    I saw this book in an illustration exhibit in NYC. The illustrations were charming, and the story was equally endearing.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BriSoFla

    The story is a true story about two penguins that NATURALLY happened, why are these people all up in arms about it? Is it because they refuse to see the truth that this happens in nature – though not COMMON, but happens? Just because you don't want to believe or see it, doesn't mean it isnt NORMAL. Get over yourselves people it's not all about you and your )(*@^^&$ bible!

    April 11, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • But It's Natural

      Just because something is "natural" does not mean it is morally acceptable. Hyenas eat their siblings– should I write a charming children's novel about that?

      April 12, 2011 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Teeph

      It happened NATURALLY. In captivity.

      Uh . . . ?

      April 12, 2011 at 6:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Darwin

      "Just because something is "natural" does not mean it is morally acceptable. Hyenas eat their siblings– should I write a charming children's novel about that?"

      Yes you should because it has perpetuated the survival of Hyenas. Write a childrens novel about it and explain how that practice has ensured the strongest of the litter survives and guarantees the continuation of the species. I know survival of the fittest is a hard thing to grasp being a human being...the only animal this fundamental law of nature doesn't apply to because you've disconnected yourself from nature. So go write your book about how things that happen amongst predatory animals IN THE WILD...are "un-moral" on the human basis of complex cognition and belief. I see a best seller in your future. -_-

      April 12, 2011 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Smithers

      I still don't understand how the gay-agenda around this topic. Unlike humans, Penguins don't cohabit for a good shag. Two adult male penguins come in possession of an egg, presumably while Momma Penguin is off swimming. Craftily, they jointly warm the egg. How does this make them gay?

      If a single dad asks his divorced buddy to move in and help raise his kid, a la two and a half men, does that make the Dad and Buddy gay? No, it just means they look out for each other.

      Geez, why does someone always have to find some double meaning. Let kids be kids.

      April 12, 2011 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Todd

    The next edition will be about gay politicians who date their page's. Its a sweet story

    April 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • dollyllama

      Don't you mean a tweet story? 🙂

      April 11, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • StinkyStu

      Don't forget Priests and boys. I'm sure you could have a whole series of books on that one.

      April 12, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Quest

      It's already been written, but the hero was straight. Much more realistic that way.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. deadidol

    You know how I know you guys are gay, your holding each other oh so gently. Lol

    April 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tinesia

    I love God, back when I went to school you were still even allowed to ask questions about him...now children are not allowed to ask questions like that in school. I Agree with the fact that our children are being raised as morans in todays world...gay, straight, crooked, black, brown, blue, yellow, ou ghost, I'm not your judge nor jury... Nor is any of the ignorant people out there...people keep standing up for whats right...there has been civil wars in the past...and another one doesn't look like it could harm anything else in this country! And just to point out in the bible states our government will stand judgement one day as well...may peace be with all of you...

    April 11, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay

      Lol, morans

      April 11, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      Good grief. Of all the things people are worried about kids learning in school, how about some basics like subject and verb agreement?

      April 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie Murphy

      I'm really concerned about your I love God statement. MY test case of course would be a clear explanation from you of whether you support Jesus commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself and that his commandment in your view includes loving our gay and lesbian and yes Trangendered citizens. And letting them lead their own life with full acceptance in our society.

      If you do believe in this then thank you. If you think the LGBT folks should be demonized, hidden away from society just like hitler threw the Jews in the ghetto, well you simply fit the description of the anything but christians, who seem to delight in punching their own tickets to hell. The choice is yours.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liutgard

      Judging by the semi-literacy of your post, it would appear that reading a book now and then might do you some good...

      April 12, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
    • YBP

      I get a kick out of these "cultural" made-up names. Tinesia? Meaning what? Sounds a lot like Tunesia. How about Amnesia? Your culture is really for the birds.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
    • salvice

      If you want to be taken seriously, please use coherent sentences so that we can properly interpret what yo are trying to say.

      April 12, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Roi

      You're lying... Even here here in hyper-liberal NYC, high school students are allowed to study the Bible as literature, and the xtian god as a belief system. The "god has been banned from schools" myth is just more nonsense promoted by the god-myth believers.

      You're all liars.

      April 12, 2011 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
    • CTL

      so Tinesia, people stand up for what is right... and you are not the judge, you said so yourself. Who decides what's "Right"? Civil War here was over slavery. I don't recall the bible condemning slavery as a whole, so slavery was not wrong by way of the bible.. but we saw it as an injustice and fought against it.

      You try to sound tolerant while saying "God will judge you and send you to hell". fooling yourself into thinking it's nonexistent is just as bad as those who scream out against it with a bible in their hand.

      April 12, 2011 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
    • MC

      You're so very right. All children are morons. How many are you raising with your incredible spelling capabilities?

      April 12, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave in Indy

      I love ellipses...and spelling...and half-baked attempts to make my intolerant beliefs seem more palatable...yet I really am intolerant and am incapable of meaningful self-reflection...instead rambling on forever in an attempt to seem rational...yet in so doing...I make a strong case for the opposite...You know, I really enjoy blissful ignorance...and puzzling punctuation...

      April 12, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tim Riker

    Makes me want to buy thousands more of this book and distribute it to more libraries. Keep Hitler and his book burning buddies away.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian from Washington

      You haven't said it better!

      April 11, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • LivinginVA

      When our local school district went through a fight about it, I bought copies in English and Spanish for 3 local elementary schools.

      April 12, 2011 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Shelby

    If the United States wants to change its image from being a backwards, redneck, ultra-conservative nation, it must stop being a backwards, redneck and ultra-conservative nation. I am proud to live in Canada, where reports of discrimination against the LGBTTQ community would be met with howls of outrage. The US should learn from our example: increase HUMAN RIGHTS, not the right to discriminate.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • stan arnold

      AS a str8 supporter of gay people, I never thought that I'd be in the position my Jewish grandparents were in- having to live in about 6 different countries before being able to find hope in the USA

      But I'l see you in Vancouver BC this summer at the gay pride parade, and be around town looking at whether I and mywife and younger son should move to a progressive country. Where even the conservatives are decent people with whom you can have a fair diaolog about various issues.

      Good bye AmeriKKKa,

      April 11, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • CDV

      I'm a proud Canadian as well but have to say you put us on a pretty high horse there. You haven't spent much time in the prairies I take it?

      April 11, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mr. Butters

    "books including "Catcher in the Rye" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" did not make the list this year."

    I think that about sums up the kind of people who are doing the complaining.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Colin

    Oh god how I fear the religious with power.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • MashaSobaka

      Then don't let them get any power. That's what I've been doing. Takes work, but it's worth it. Spread the word, brother.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. stan arnold

    The religious extremists – our own "anything but christians" dont want their kids to realize that
    God created gay people. Or in the past black people, yellow people, Jews etc.

    As well as how they used the bible to justify slavery, the KKK and segregation.

    We should not have fought the civil war – we should only have had a nuremburg style trial for all the southern right wingers who did all these horrible things.

    And then have given them an eye for an eye treatment. So todays deisgraces to AmeriKKKa would never have been born.

    these (not all btw) christian haters of gay people are proof that there is no God. For He would have insured they were, either spontaneously or with a coathanger, been aborted.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • YBP

      You are correct that there are no gods. Nevertheless, I would recommend some psychiatric help.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. L64

    Joey keeps getting lost. Methinks he needs a compass.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mini09

    people really do have nothing else to do than complain about books...this one in particular aggavates me...

    April 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • YBP

      'Irritates.' People get irritated. Situations get aggravated.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
    • SureNoProb

      @YBP... Go back and study your Latin for a few more years: Aggravate comes from the Latin verb aggravre, which meant "to make heavier," that is, "to add to the weight of." It also had the extended senses "to annoy" and "to oppress." Some pompous boors claim that aggravate can only mean "to make worse," and not "to irritate," on the basis of the word's etymology. But in doing so, they ignore not only an English sense in use since the 17th century, but also one of the original Latin ones.

      Pedants are really aggravating...

      April 12, 2011 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. john

    Yes lets hide the truth about actual real world facts and all read that big black book of antiquated fantasy fiction instead.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • YBP

      It's funny that you should describe it this way. We were just joking at my house about the 10 plagues sent to Egypt on behalf of the chosen people. Isn't it funny that the the so-called god of the ancient middle east came up with 10 plagues that only an ancient middle eastern wandering shepherd could have imagined? I mean, frogs, bugs, dead babies? Freddy Krueger has more of a vivid imagination! The good book really isn't even that good. Burn it.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      I don't actually believe in the Bible but I know that it is said by Bible scholars that the 10 plagues each represented one of the gods that Egyptians worshiped. Therefore it is supposedly a way that God is showing them that their gods are fake and he's real. For instance, they worshiped the icon of a frog so frogs came out of the Nile and covered their land. The Nile was a symbol of the source of life, so it was turned to blood. They worshiped the sun, and so it was blotted out by the darkness.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mandy

    Mick.. Youre an idiot. Seriously dude, gay bars for birds? Oh and not everyone believes in the bible more than they do ghosts so just because you do doesnt make it right. And furthermore when is the last time you saw a 'religiously right' penguin hummm? Exactly.. Smh

    April 11, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • O

      'religiously right' penguin hummm? LOL that was kind of funny

      April 12, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
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