Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Book Of The Week

The first time I read And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, I was unaware of the theme of the story. Handed to me by a child my lead teacher asked me if I knew the story and I responded no. Her and the principal stand in the back of the room as I read the book and slowly realize it is about two male penguins who love each other and are given a baby penguin to take care of. Yes, this children's book is about a gay penguin couple who start a family and it is actually based on a true story from a New York zoo. My initial surprise from being unaware of the idea in the story quickly wore off. This book does an excellent job of explaining an alternative life style and alternative families from the use of this penguin family. The fact that it is based on a true story only makes it more realistic, and I do recommend reading the factual information to the children as well.

I come from a liberal background and the message in this book is nothing I wouldn't want children to know about, but I know that it isn't a reality that all parents or educators feel the same way. I learned in my search to find a google book page that And Tango Makes Three was at the top of ALA's 2006 list of most challenged books. It was on the list for "homosexuality, anti-family, and unsuited to age group." Anti-family? Anti-traditional family sure, but the book to me represents understanding family in a whole new way and is nothing but pro-family. Okay yes, the book is about homosexuality, but I see nothing wrong with that being in a children's book. And yes, the ALA website is supporting reading the banned books, just as I am right now.

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