The book And Tango Makes Three, about a male penguin couple, has returned to the top spot as the American Library Association’s (ALA) “most challenged book” of 2010.

And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, is 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.

According to the ALA, 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.

Off the list this year are such classics as Alice Walker’s Color Purple; To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger; and Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War.

Replacing them are books reflecting a range of themes and ideas and include Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie; The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins; and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight.

“While we firmly support the right of every reader to choose or reject a book for themselves or their families, those objecting to a particular book should not be given the power to restrict other readers’ right to access and read that book,” said Barbara Jones, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

“As members of a pluralistic and complex society, we must have free access to a diverse range of viewpoints on the human condition in order to foster critical thinking and understanding. We must protect one of the most precious of our fundamental rights – the freedom to read.”

In 2010, the ALA was notified of 348 formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that a book be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.

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