AND TANGO MAKES THREE
One of my favorite weeks in the literature world is underway, Banned Books Week. Because of that I have decided to put together five book reviews over the next five days, each a banned
book, that has truly inspired me to write and push the boundaries with everything I do.
To start this week, I thought I would talk about this terribly cute book I read when I was first beginning my career (hopefully one I return to soon) in libraries. Being surrounded by books is one of the many things I like about the job (as is helping customers — shameless plug, sorry, but boy’s got to eat), and so when my boss asked me to do the banned book display, I was more than willing to jump all over that.
I burned paper, did a ton of research and feel in love with “And Tango Makes Three.” This book is the book that started it for me. I loved this children’s book about gay penguins. A coworker of mine said that when she worked in a school library, she read it to the kids and they thought it was about to best friends. She said it was.
The story is pretty simple. New York zoo keepers noticed that this pair of two male penguins are inseparable. When egg laying season comes, they are even taking turns sitting on a rock shaped like an egg. When a pair of heterosexual penguins lay two eggs, and because the pair had never been able to hatch more than one egg at a time, the zoo keepers took one of away the eggs away and gave it to the pair of homos, who successfully raise, Tango, thus the beloved tale of “And Tango Makes Three.”
What’s really cool about this awesome story, the one that really started it all for me, the one that got me hook to celebrate “Banned Books Week” even when I don’t work in a library, is that it’s true. It’s about two real penguins in the New York zoo. How cute!
It caused some controversy in 2004, and currently tops the list of the most challenged book from the “American Library Association.” A challenge is where the book is being requested that it’s banned. It’s the first step towards taking away one of our most beloved freedoms, the one to read.
Tango’s story is worth hearing. So, be sure to check out “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson, and Peter Parnell.