Gay penguins book tops list of titles Americans want banned

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A children’s book about two male penguins who adopt a baby chick is the book most Americans want banned, according to the American Library Association (ALA).

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell has been slammed as anti-family, anti-religion and pro-gay.

The top ten list features the most challenged titles of 2008 and has been running for 20 years.

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the ALA’s office for intellectual freedom, told the Guardian: “Books that address same-sex parenting, or same-sex relationships, are particularly prone to challenges in the US.

“In the case of And Tango Makes Three, there are many parents who believe it inappropriate to teach children anything at all about homosexual relationships, even in the form of a picture book about a true story.”

Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy rose to second place over its violent scenes and religious viewpoint, while The Kite Runner, by Khaleed Hosseini, which features a 12-year-old boy being raped entered the list for the first time after being removed from some library shelves.

The books dropping out of this year’s list included Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (criticised for racism), Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (challenged for sexual content, homosexual content and offensive language) and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (sexual content).

Ms Caldwell-Stone said: “While not every book is right for each reader, every reader has the right to choose reading materials for themselves and their families and should be able to find those materials in libraries, classrooms, and bookstores.

“Our goal is to protect one of our most precious fundamental rights – our freedom to read.”

The ALA celebrates Banned Books Week every year in the last week of September.