And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

    Review by:  Lisa

Title:  And Tango Makes Three

Authors: Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Collection:  Childrens EZ Books

Published in 2005, this book has the distinction of being the most challenged book of 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010, and was second most challenged in 2009.  The reasons cited are:  homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group.

At New York City’s Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.  As the book states, all of the events in the story are true.  Roy and Silo, the two penguins in the story, live together at the zoo, become a couple, and, are given an egg to raise by Rob Gramzay, the caretaker of the penguin house at the zoo.  Tango was born and was the only penguin with two dads.

In a recent article in School Library Journal about Tango Makes Three:  There have been dozens of attempts by school and public libraries to challenge and remove And Tango Makes Three from shelves, citing that the book is “unsuited for age group,” and objecting to its “religious viewpoint” and “homosexuality.”  “While we firmly support the right of every reader to choose or reject a book for themselves or their families, those objecting to a particular book should not be given the power to restrict other readers’ right to access and read that book,” says Barbara Jones, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). “As members of a pluralistic and complex society, we must have free access to a diverse range of viewpoints on the human condition in order to foster critical thinking and understanding. We must protect one of the most precious of our fundamental rights—the freedom to read.”

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.  BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

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