For a second consecutive year, a children’s book about two gay penguins tops the list of the books most objected to by the public in the US.
Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s award-winning And Tango Makes Three, in which two male penguins care for an orphaned egg, has again topped the list of the American Library Association’s (ALA) 10 Most Challenged Books of 2007.
A “challenge” is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school, requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.
And Tango Makes Three is based on the true story of two male Penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo who for a time formed a couple. It aims to promote tolerance towards non-traditional families.
In 2007, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) received 420 reports on efforts to abolish materials from school curriculum and library bookshelves.
Public libraries, schools and school libraries report challenges to OIF, but a majority of challenges go unreported.
“Free access to information is a core American value that should be protected,” said Judith F. Krug, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom.
“Not every book is right for each reader, but an individual’s interpretation of a book should not take away my right to select reading materials for my family or myself.”
A number of other highly acclaimed books are on this year’s list including:
The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman (number four, because of complaints about its religious viewpoint); The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain (number five, because of claims of racism); and The Color Purple, by Alice Walker (at number six, thanks to complaints about homosexuality, sexually explicitness and offensive language).