Son: Dad, how do a daddy penguin and a mommy penguin have a baby penguin?
Dad: Er, son, penguins are birds so they ask the “bees”. The birds and the bees are always together so, um, they can exchange... info. Yep, they consult with the flowers and the trees too—oh, and the moon up above and a thing called lurve.
Son: What if there are two daddy penguins?
I’ll answer that, um, son. That’s the time some craaazee parents gasp, “Holee crapolee! Indecent!” *fist in air* “CHAAAALLENGE IT!”
According to AP, the award-winning And Tango Makes Three, a children’s book inspired by the true story of two male penguins raising a baby penguin, topped the American Library Association’s Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2006. (ALA’s definition of challenge is a “formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.”) It’s interesting that ALA has also named it as one of the year’s best children’s books.
Overall, the number of “challenged” books in 2006 jumped to 546, more than 30 percent higher than the previous year’s total, 405, although still low compared to the mid-1990s, when challenges topped 750.
I immediately thought of Susan Patron’s The Higher Power of Lucky, winner of this year’s Newbery Medal (most prestigious award in children’s literature) that made all that brouhaha this February because of the word “scrotum”. AP contacted the
Sheesh. Anyhoodles, here are the “10 Most Challenged Books of 2006” with their reasons for being challenged:
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (for homosexuality, anti-family, and unsuited to age group)
- Gossip Girls series by Cecily Von Ziegesar (for homosexuality, sexual content, drugs, unsuited to age group, and offensive language)
- Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (for sexual content and offensive language)
- The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler (for sexual content, anti-family, offensive language, and unsuited to age group)
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (for sexual content, offensive language, and unsuited to age group)
- Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz (for occult/Satanism, unsuited to age group, violence, and insensitivity)
- Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher (for homosexuality and offensive language)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (for homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to age group)
- Beloved by Toni Morrison (for offensive language, sexual content, and unsuited to age group)
- The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (for sexual content, offensive language, and violence)