Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Most frequently challenged books

The American Library Association has released its Top Ten List of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2010. Number one: Justin Richardson’s and Peter Parnell’s And Tango Makes Three,

an award-winning children’s book about the true story of two male Emperor Penguins hatching and parenting a baby chick at New York’s Central Park Zoo. The book has appeared on the ALA’s Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books for the past five years and returns to the number one slot after a brief stay at the number two position in 2009. There have been dozens of attempts to remove And Tango Makes Three from school and public library shelves. Those seeking to remove the book have described it as “unsuited for age group,” and cited “religious viewpoint” and “homosexuality” as reasons for challenging the book.
The logic of book-banners would seem to dictate that the Penguin House itself be closed to children, no? If a story about the penguins is “unsuited for age group,” how much more so the penguins themselves.

The Wikipedia article on And Tango Makes Three includes this passage from a court ruling:
[I]f a parent wishes to prevent her child from reading a particular book, that parent can and should accompany the child to the Library, and should not prevent all children in the community from gaining access to constitutionally protected materials. Where First Amendment rights are concerned, those seeking to restrict access to information should be forced to take affirmative steps to shield themselves from unwanted materials; the onus should not be on the general public to overcome barriers to their access to fully protected information.

comments: 2

Elaine said...

I'm trying really hard to figure out what 'gay penguins' get up to... I mean, do they dress up as female penguins? watch Streisand movies? I'm so confused....

normann said...

The real sick part is the dirty-mindedness of the parents who want to ban the book. There is nothing salacious about the story. Two male penguins simply hatch and raise a chick together. Maybe the chick was an orphan, in which case two bachelor penguins giving up their own chances for progeny (for the time being anyway) are an example of altruism in the animal kingdom that is admirable. It's a sweet story. Not at all like the behavior of a male gorilla that murders a female gorilla's nursing infant so that she can start ovulating again. Attaboy!