Children’s Literature up for Review


©The Talon News | Josh Fritz

Recent controversy surrounds books in public school libraries. Photo from Argyle High School Library Jan 28, 2022.

Brenna Walters, Reporter

Not even the animal kingdom can stop the effects of bigotry. Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell have proven that antiquated ideals of homophobia exist even outside the confines of our species. Whether or not you harbor any strong emotion towards homosexuality, manifesting indifference into a children’s book is the epitome of ignorance. 

Recent controversy surrounds books in public school libraries. Photo from Argyle High School Library Jan 28, 2022. (©The Talon News | Josh Fritz)

‘And Tango Makes Three’ tells the story of Roy and Silo, two male Chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo. Roy and Silo are a bonded pair. The book has struck up major controversy since its publication in 2005. ‘And Tango Makes Three’ has managed to make the banned book list eight separate times due to accusations of being inappropriate to the targeted age group and portraying anti-family rhetoric. 

It is fundamentally incorrect and generally hypocritical to say that this children’s book is unsuitable for its younger audience. There have been a plethora of books written around the concept of family, and this book is no exception. Whether it be Dr. Suess, or Shel Silverstein, writing about the idea of two parents raising a child in a children’s book has never been taboo. It is only when an author is willing to step outside of the realm of heteronormativity that they are ridiculed for “exploiting” our youth.

The story of Roy and Silo is a true story that took place in the Central Park Zoo.  If anything, this book is more educational and grounded than the moral teachings of ‘The Giving Tree’ or ‘To Give a Mouse a Cookie.’ This begs the question, what deems certain subjects inappropriate? National Geographic has published dozens of books about penguins and their ways of parenting and has not once been criticized to this extent.  

This book innocently depicted the real-life relationship between two penguins in captivity that just so happened to be both males, due to the sensitive and over-politicized nature of homosexuality in our society, the book took on major criticism. Coming in the form of religious points of views, personal morals, and/or active attempts to get this publication censored. 

Dismissing the engrained trauma produced by these passive-aggressive ideologies being placed on our children, and now being included in something as fundamentally educational and entertaining as children’s literature, will eventually result in a war on censorship if it isn’t already upon us.

 As a society, we need to be able to express to our children that we are free to voice our opinions and shouldn’t fear our right to do so being revoked. No matter what side of the political, religious, or moral playing field you are on, adults need to act like adults and work towards not suffocating those around them with their archaic philosophies. The influence we have over our direct communities needs to be regulated and reviewed, instead of holding it over the noses of our most impressionable. Impartiality needs to fuel the fight against unjust censorship amongst bigots and revolutionaries alike.