Attempts to remove children’s book on male penguin couple parenting chick continue

Contacts: Macey Morales / Jennifer Petersen
ALA Media Relations
312-280-4349 / 5043
mmorales@ala.org / jpetersen@ala.org

NEWS
For Immediate Release
April 16, 2009

"And Tango Makes Three" tops ALA's 2008 Top Ten list of most frequently challenged books

CHICAGO – For a third consecutive year, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell's award-winning "And Tango Makes Three," a children's book about two male penguins caring for an orphaned egg, tops the American Library Association's (ALA) Top Ten list of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2008.

Four books are new to the list: "Bless Me, Ultima," by Rudolfo Anaya; "Uncle Bobby's Wedding," by Sarah S. Brannen; "The Kite Runner," by Khaled Hosseini; and "Flashcards of My Life," by Charise Mericle Harper.  

Alvin Schwartz's "Scary Stories" series returns after being dropped from the list in 2007. 

"Books, magazines, and other reading materials should reflect the diverse views and the rich multicultural tapestry of our Nation," said Deborah Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. "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."

For nearly 20 years, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has collected reports on book challenges. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school, requesting that materials be removed or restricted because of content or appropriateness. In 2008, OIF received 513 reports on efforts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves.

Though OIF receives reports of challenges in public libraries, schools, and school libraries from a variety of sources, a majority of challenges go unreported.  OIF estimates that its statistics reflect only 20-25% of the challenges that actually occur.

The ALA's Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2008 reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:

1. "And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Anti-Family, Homosexuality, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2. "His Dark Materials Trilogy" (Series), Philip Pullman
Reasons:  Political Viewpoint, Religious Viewpoint, Violence

3. "TTYL"; "TTFN"; "L8R, G8R" (Series), Lauren Myracle
Reasons:  Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

4. "Scary Stories" (Series), Alvin Schwartz
Reasons:  Occult/Satanism, Religious Viewpoint, Violence

5. "Bless Me, Ultima," by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons:  Occult/Satanism, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Sexually Explicit, Violence

6. "The Perks of Being A Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons:  Drugs, Homosexuality, Nudity, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Suicide, Unsuited to Age Group

7. "Gossip Girl" (Series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons:  Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

8. "Uncle Bobby's Wedding," by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons:  Homosexuality, Unsuited to Age Group

9. "The Kite Runner," by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons:  Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

10. "Flashcards of My Life," by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons:  Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

Six titles were dropped from the list, including: "The Chocolate War," by Robert Cormier (challenged for sexually explicit content, offensive language and violence); "Olive's Ocean," by Kevin Henkes (for sexually explicit content and offensive language); "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," by Mark Twain (for racism); "The Color Purple," by Alice Walker (for homosexuality, sexually explicit content and offensive language); "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," by Maya Angelou (for sexually explicit content); and "It's Perfectly Normal," by Robie Harris (for sexually explicit content).

For more information on book challenges and censorship, please visit the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom's Banned Books Week Web site at www.ala.org/bbooks.

The Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association's basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries.