Fast Company

Americans Want to Toss Adorable Gay Penguin Tale on Banned-Book Pyre

And Tango Makes Three

As a taxpaying American citizen, you are entitled to write your local public or school library and formally request that they remove a book from their shelves. They don't have to listen to you, but they often report these requests to the American Library Association, which publishes an annual list of the books that got the most people up in arms. And apparently, people don't want their children reading about gay penguins.

And Tango Makes Three, the heartwarming true tale of two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that adopt an abandoned egg and then raise the baby penguin, is the book that is most often challenged by parents for its positive depictions of gay (avian) lifestyles. And school districts around the country have removed it from their shelves in response to many of those challenges.

The Twilight books, which glorify the occult, also come up for targeting, as does the major hit The Hunger Games, which is both violent and sexual, and therefore, is also incredibly popular. Barbara Ehrenreich's seminal Nickeled and Dimed also makes the list, though "forcing Americans to confront incredible inequality inherent in the system" is not why. Instead it's drug use and bad language.

The irony is thickest at the number three selection on the list, Brave New World, which was cited for "Insensitivity, Offensive Language, Racism, Sexually Explicit." If you recall your Huxley, you'll remember that the word "Shakespeare" is banned in the World State. Do the people know that they're asking to ban a book about the danger of a society that bans books?

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5 Comments

  • david tolbert

    i realize that people are entitled to their opinion and beliefs . even though the 1st admendment is sometimes stretched so thin you can see through it. but screaming lets not let our kids read a book is stupid. if you want to start that kind of crap i know of a book with all that stuff in it. it reads like a regular soap opera. wanna know the name of it? its called the Holy Bible. i have read most of the books on the top ten list and i have not gone gay, or tried to kill nobody. so lets treat books like they are a good alternitive to boredom.

  • Chris Vogel

    How do you know they weren't having sex? In any case, they were pair-bonded and raising a child. That makes them gay, and parents as well. You heterosexuals are so obsessed with intercourse!

  • Tyler Gray

    Dead on, o. If this gay penguin book proves anything, it's that two dude penguins can do a LOT and still be able to deny having had sex. Perhaps they were just partyin'. And what's wrong with that?