Exploring Banned & Challenged Books: And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole, a picture book that recounts the true story of two male Penguins, Roy and Silo, that hatch and raise a chick as part of their family at New York Central Park Zoo, received more challenges than any other book in the US for 4 years in a row (ALA, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)


  • 2006 American Library Association notable children’s books
  • ASPCA Henry Bergh word
  • Gustavus Myers ALE standings
  • Nominated for 2006 Lambda literary award


And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole, has topped the banned books list, according to the American Library Association since 2006 and on their reported “Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books 2002 to 2009” it is the fourth-highest banned/challenged book for the decade.

Challenges of Note

Top Reasons Behind Challenges: Homosexuality, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group.

2013:  Marked for removal and the Davis (UT) School District because parents might find it objectionable.

2012:  Pulled from the grids Elementary School in Rochester (MN) as an appropriate for elementary students in remove from school library shelves. This decision was later reversed as a mistake for failing to follow District policy. Eventually, a temporary resolution was reached requiring that one of the parents who challenged the book be present when their children checks out books from the school media center in the future.

2010:  Challenged, but retained in the North Kansas City (MO) schools despite my parents concerned that the book wasn’t age appropriate, didn’t follow the district’s policy on human sexuality education and tries to end afternoon children about homosexuality. And subsequent discussions, the schools appear to be headed towards segregating elementary school libraries according to “age appropriateness.” Students might be restricted to view or check out materials and their own age class or younger.

2009:  Return to General circulation in 16 Loudoun (VA) elementary school libraries despite complaints about its subject matter. Withdrawn from to Bristol England, UK Primary School’s following objections from parents. Challenged, but retained and Eli Pinney Elementary School in Dublin Ohio, despite a parent’s concern that the book “is based on one of those subjects that asbestos covered by students and another time or in another place.” Challenged, but retained in the Ankeny (IA) elementary school over the objections of parents concerns of promotion of homosexuality. Retained in the Chico (CA) Unified School District over complaints that the book is inappropriate for elementary school students after the school board determined that the book meets Library selection standards and District policy. Retained by the Calvert County library and Prince Frederick (MD) after request that the book be removed from the children’s section and Sheldon a labeled alternative section.

2008:  Challenged at Lodi (CA) Public Library by a resident. Returned to the general circulation in Loudoun Virginia elementary school library.

2007:  Move from the children’s fiction section to children’s nonfiction at to Rolling Hills Consolidated library branches and Savannah and Saint Joseph (MO)after parents complained it had homosexual undertones. Pulled from for elementary school libraries and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) after parents and the Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James questioned the controversial but true story. The books were returned after the local paper question the ban.

2006: Moved from the children’s section to children’s non-fiction at to Rolling Hills library branches and Savannah and Saint Joseph (MO) after parents complained it had homosexual undertones.

For Educators: 

More about And Tango Makes Three challenges:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s