Pen­guin book seen as same-sex pro­pa­ganda

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

SHILOH, Ill. (AP) — A pic­ture book about two male pen­guins rais­ing a baby pen­guin is get­ting a chilly re­cep­tion among some par­ents who worry about the book’s avail­abil­ity to chil­dren — and the re­luc­tance of school ad­min­is­tra­tors to re­strict ac­cess to it.

The con­cerns are the latest in­volv­ing “And Tango Makes Three,” the il­lus­trated chil­dren’s book based on a true story of two male pen­guins in New York City’s Cen­tral Park Zoo that adopted a fer­til­ized egg and raised the chick as their own.

Com­plain­ing about the book’s ho­mo­sex­ual un­der­tones, some par­ents of Shiloh El­e­men­tary School stu­dents think the book — avail­able to be checked out of the school’s li­brary in this 11,000res­i­dent town 20 miles east of St. Louis — tack­les top­ics their chil­dren aren’t ready to han­dle.

Their re­quest: Move the book to the li­brary’s reg­u­lar shelves and re­strict it to a sec­tion for ma­ture is­sues, per­haps even re­quir­ing parental per­mis­sion be­fore a child can check it out.

For now, “And Tango Makes Three” will stay put, said school dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent Jen­nifer Filyaw, though a panel she ap­pointed sug­gested the book be moved and re­quire parental per­mis­sion to be checked out. The dis­trict’s at­tor­ney said mov­ing it might be con­strued as cen­sor­ship.

Miss Filyaw con­sid­ers the book “adorable” and age ap­pro­pri­ate, writ­ten for chil­dren 4 to 8.

“My feel­ing is that a li­brary is to serve an en­tire pop­u­la­tion,” she said. “It means you rep­re­sent dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies in a so­ci­ety — dif­fer­ent reli­gions, dif­fer­ent be­liefs.”

Lilly Del Pinto thought the book looked charm­ing when her 5-year-old daugh­ter brought it home in Septem­ber. Mrs. Del Pinto said she was half­way through read­ing it to her daugh­ter “when the zookeeper said the two pen­guins must be in love.”

“That’s when I ended the story,” she said.

Mrs. Del Pinto said her daugh­ter’s teacher told her she was unfamiliar with the book, and the school’s li­brar­ian di­rected the mother to Miss Filyaw.

“I wasn’t armed with pitch­forks or any­thing. I in­no­cently was seek­ing an­swers,” Mrs. Del Pinto said, agree­ing with Miss Filyaw’s think­ing that pulling the book from the shelves could con­sti­tute cen­sor­ship.

The book has cre­ated sim­i­lar flaps else­where. Ear­lier this year, two par­ents voiced con­cerns about the book with li­brar­i­ans at the Rolling Hills Con­sol­i­dated Li­brary’s branch in Savannah, Mo.

Bar­bara Read, the branch di­rec­tor, has said she con­sulted with staff mem­bers at the Omaha, Neb., and Kansas City zoos and the Univer­sity of Oklahoma’s zo­ol­ogy de­part­ment, who told her adop­tions aren’t un­usual in the world of pen­guins.

She said the book was then moved to the non­fic­tion sec­tion be­cause it was based on ac­tual events. In that sec­tion, she said, there was less of a chance that the book would “blind­side” some­one.

As­so­ci­ated Press

The book “And Tango Makes Three” is get­ting a chilly re­cep­tion from some par­ents in Shiloh, Ill., who worry about the book’s ho­mo­sex­ual un­der­tones and its avail­abil­ity to el­e­men­tary stu­dents in their school li­braries.

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