Last week we wrote about children’s books that feature a two-mommy family. While these books are great, they are few and far between — as are all gay-friendly books for that matter. One of the most recent LGBT-themed kids’ titles is a lovely picture book called And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Based on a true story, it’s about two male penguins that want to raise a family so badly that they start caring for an egg-shaped rock. The zookeeper is so moved by this that she gives them a real egg to nurse. The book features cute penguins, characters that overcome the odds, and a wonderful message about the importance of family. So, what’s not to love?
Apparently, a lot — And Tango Makes Three is the most “challenged” book in schools and libraries for a second straight year, according to the American Library Association. What’s the public’s beef with a sweet kids’ book? You can probably guess, but here’s the explanation Judith Krug of the ALA gave the Associated Press: “The complaints are that young children will believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle that is acceptable. The people complaining, of course, don’t agree with that.” Well, we can’t have that, now can we? Let’s not upset the breeders with a book that teaches kids about antiquated things like compassion, acceptance, and understanding.
On second thought, we should have our own list of children’s books and teen fiction that’s actually worth challenging. I’ll start:
The O’Reilly Factor for Kids
I’m singling this one out from all the other bad teen-chick lit on the market now because it’s actually written for tweens (that’s girls between the ages of 9 and 13, for those of you keeping score at home). Is it too much to ask for one likable — or at least half-way decent — girl character for us to relate to these days? I’m just so sick of reading about vapid, bitchy girls who only care about makeup and gossip. It’s like reading the transcripts of MTV’s The Hills. From now on, I’m objecting to any book that uses the term “frenemy” (in a non-ironical way, of course).
What other children’s books or teen lit would you add to our challenge list?