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Gay Penguins Win Again!

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The children's book "And Tango Makes Three" makes parents the most mad for the third year in a row.

Penguins Roy and Silo and their daughter, Tango, of the award-winning book "And Tango Makes Three" shouldn't stress about making the American Library Association's annual most-challenged books list. They're in good company. In fact, celebrated children's author Judy Blume has five titles on the "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books" list.

To be a "challenged" book means it received the most hate mail, and "And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, has plenty. What's irking some parents is the glorification of the non-traditional family, the equivalent of the sitcom "My Two Dads," only with gay penguins.

The story, however, is true. Roy and Silo, two chinstrap penguins that reside in New York's Central Park, became at one time an inseparable couple. The zookeepers observed the pair desperately trying to hatch a rock and gave them a real egg instead. The result was the birth of a baby chick that zookeepers named Tango. Alas, their union, like many heterosexual marriages, ended after their baby chick was raised.

Dana Rudolph, founder of, an award-winning LGBT website, says that many parents object to books depicting same-sex marriage because they think it contains references to sexuality. "This is wrong," says Rudolph. "One never needs to mention sex in order to teach young children that there are many types of families, including those with a mom and a dad, two moms, two dads, a single parent, adoptive and birth parents, or parents of different races."

Would you object to your children reading "And Tango Makes Three"?

next: 'I Changed My Baby's Name'
20 comments so far | Post a comment now
Christina September 9, 2009, 12:31 PM

If it is upsetting that many people, I have seriously got to buy this book for my kids.

Matt Bramanti September 9, 2009, 1:54 PM

What an asinine comment — that you should do something simply because it’s condemned. Self-immolation upsets people too.

Leila September 9, 2009, 1:56 PM

Haha, I remember hearing about this book a few years ago. I love this book!
What’s better, a child going without a family or a child being raised by a loving gay couple, eh?

Uly September 9, 2009, 2:04 PM

LOL, yeah, Christina! No, I wouldn’t object to this book at all :)

Tami September 9, 2009, 2:09 PM

I think that someone trying to condemn a book because it is different is asinine. Allow others to teach about difference. Difference is what makes the world go round!

Jenna September 9, 2009, 3:00 PM

Where I grew up, and how I grew up, yes, I WOULD have condemned this book. That was, until my brother came out of the closet and I had a revelation! You know, Gays are people Too! (Surprising, I know.) That was one of the hardest times in my life, but I think it was definitely something we all needed to go thru to get our minds where they needed to be, instead of instantly condemning someone for WHAT they were rather than WHO they were.

I would never condemn this book, but know of several people that would. I don’t understand it, I don’t understand how I could have been one of them just a few short years ago. Teaching people that love is love is love? That Happiness is in the raising, not WHO raises a child? What is wrong with that?

Thomas September 10, 2009, 6:40 AM

Prejudice is learned. Being gay is natural as it exists throughout nature. Facts never get in the way of anti-gay bigots. All humans (and peguins) deserve respect and dignity.

chris September 10, 2009, 8:13 AM

I’m confused…are they two penguins gay or did they just want to raise a baby penguin? The story states that they no longer had a “union” after the chick was raised so did they actually have a “union” before or just a shared desire to raise a baby?

Anonymous September 10, 2009, 7:06 PM

I intend to buy this book for my Sunday School classes at my Unitarian Universalist church.

Anonymous September 11, 2009, 7:32 AM

I love this idea!!!

Heather September 12, 2009, 3:37 AM

When I heard about the ‘gay’ penguins at the zoo, I thought it was the best example of why people who say that homosexuality is not natural are wrong. Do they really think that animals have the free will to be able to go against nature? Obviously being gay is just as natural as being straight, and it fulfills some function in the world, if they were able to raise a chick that may have had to be hand-raised otherwise.

Hanah September 12, 2009, 10:22 AM

I happen to be bisexual so I’m all for books that teach children that there is nothing wrong with being a little different. I would love to buy this book for my little brother.

carly September 14, 2009, 6:59 PM

Not letting your child read a book because of two gay penguins is predjudice and unnecessary. There is no reason to condem the gay community. And for all of you people who believe being gay is unnatural, if two uninfluinced penguins can be gay naturally people can too. It’s two thousand and nine. Get with the program, things are changing. Maybe it’s time you should too.

ben September 20, 2009, 9:50 PM

I’m gay and I know it isn’t a choice. i could pretend to be attracted to women but i wouldn’t be happy. just like you wouldn’t be happy without the person who satisfies your needs. If you don’t believe that every living thing deserves happiness, including yourself, take one minute to consider you may have jumped to a conclusion about your beliefs that you may one day reform. Never reject an idea before first considering every aspect. it’s important to teach children to be open minded before they can adopt hindering opinions. It’s so exciting how far we’ve come since b.c. Wisconsin is such a wonderful place.

Anonymous September 22, 2009, 9:29 AM

Actually Tami, it’s the leftover angular momentum from a supernova that occurred nearly 5 billion years ago and created our planet that makes the world go round. Saying that difference makes the world go round is asinine.

Anonymous September 24, 2009, 2:15 PM


Anonymous September 25, 2009, 9:59 AM


SPYDER October 1, 2009, 12:11 PM


JDD October 3, 2009, 12:59 AM

For the record, the two broke up because Silo went hetero. I wonder if they’ll make a children’s book about that…

monkeipeg October 10, 2009, 1:16 PM

Haha @JDD’s comment. It’ll turn into a Penguin soap opera.

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