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Fatherhood with a twist in children’s book

Author Alex Bellamy
Submitted 14-08-2008

The story of two male penguins and their daughter, titled And Tango Makes Three, has won a number of awards since it was published in 2005, although its latest accolade may be less welcome.

For the second year in a row the true story, written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnel, has topped the American Library Association’s annual most-challenged book list.

Some parents obviously object to the book’s portrayal of a nuclear family headed by gay dads, but to others it is a heartwarming tale that offers gentle lessons about non-traditional families.

It is based on the story of Roy and Silo, two chinstrap penguins at New York’s Central Park, who became a couple. After zookeepers watched the loved-up pair trying to hatch a rock, they gave them a real egg instead, which later hatched into baby Tango.

As in the book, the two penguins raised their daughter to adulthood, offering a parallel with the increasing numbers of gay dads bringing up children in the US and looking at issues like father and daughter relationships and parenting skills.

Other children’s books have also covered issues of gay parenting, such as Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy’s Wedding.