Poor little Tango returns to top spot

And Tango Makes Three has returned to the top spot in the American Library Association’s top 10 most frequently challenged books of 2010.

The children’s book, published in 2005, has been on the ALA’s s an award-winning children’s book about the true story of two male Emperor Penguins hatching and parenting a baby chick at New York’s Central Park Zoo. The book has appeared on the ALA’s top 10 list since it was published, although it was number two last year (behind Lauren Myracle’s Internet Internet girl series ttyl, ttfn, and l8r g8r). Havingb won several national awards, And Tango Makes Three is based on the true story of two male penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo who hatched and raised a baby chick.

Here’s the top 10 and the claims made to justify the challenges:

  1. And Tango Makes Three, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson (homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group)
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie (offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence)
  3. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley (insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit)
  4. Crank, Ellen Hopkins (drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit)
  5. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins (sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence)
  6. Lush, Natasha Friend (drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group)
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, Sonya Sones (sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group)
  8. Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint)
  9. Revolutionary Voices, Amy Sonnie (ed.) (homosexuality and sexually explicit)
  10. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer (religious viewpoint and violence)

Perhaps most surprising to me is the Ehrenreich book, which is about trying to survive economically in the “unskilled” labor market.

The ALA received reports of 348 challenges in 2010. although it estimates that for every reported challenge four or five others go unreported. It is unknown whether that includes a challenge to Identical, a novel by Ellen Hopkins in a local high school library. Although the School District kept the book on the shelves, it refused to release details of the challenge.

I suppose that writers should, in a way, feel flattered by the censorship laws. They show a primitive fear and dread at the fearful magic of print.

John Mortimer, Clinging to the Wreckage

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