Mar 13, 2011

The Kids Are Alright, Challenged Picture Books, Pt 2

I've never understood people (homophobes?  "traditionalists"?) with the burning need to remove all gay literature from the hands of children.  I mean, give them whatever you want them to read when at home (and to those kids: good luck), but to try to keep it away from the public?  Argh! 

7. Heather has Two Mommies, by Leslea Newman, Diane Souza
Not really why it's controversial, but look at the cover.  Like I've said before, how atrocious is that?  It looks like the dog is about to attack the happy, unsuspecting Heather. Oh well.  Newman wrote this book after talking with a woman who just had a baby with her partner.  The woman was upset that there were no children's books about their type of family, so Newman wrote one.  She naturally had to self-publish the book because no publisher wanted to be the one to take that risk.  

If that wasn't a clue, events in Portland and NYC helped make  it clear that this book was controversial.  At an anti-gay campaign, the book (along with Daddy's Roommate) was used as evidence of "the militant homosexual agenda."  Yikes.  The Rainbow Curriculum in NYC also created a huge stir in this book's controversial legacy.  The RC was implemented to encourage respect and tolerance for various family types.  Unfortunately, these books were removed from the RC because parents believed first graders had no business learning about homosexual families.  This book became number 9 on the ALA's Most Challenged Books from 1990-1999. This book was also banned from hundreds of libraries, but (yay!) librarians were the strongest defenders of keeping it on the shelves and were ultimately successful. 

6. Daddy's Roommate, by Michael Willhoite
I like this book a lot because it's told from the viewpoint of the child and it explicitly states that the Dad and his Roommate are gay.  Other people were not so pleased with this fact.  Willhoite set out to write a book for "an ignored audience: the children of gay parents."  It was listed as number 2 on the ALA's Most Challenged Books from 1990-1999.  It was included in the Portland anti-gay campaign as part of the militant gay agenda.  It's been censored, burned, and checked out of libraries by parents with no intentions of returning it. Of course, the national attention these actions brought to the book only brought it more publicity and it remains in libraries today.  

Allegedly in 1995 Sarah Palin tried to have this book banned from her town's library when she was the mayor of Wasilla.  Despite having never read the book, she decided that it didn't belong in the library. She, of course, denied this ever happened.  Yeah, I'm sure.   

5.  And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, Henry Cole 
It's a true story! Roy and Silo of the Central Park Zoo, male penguins who fell in love in 1998 (yes, they were in love, deal with it), hatched an extra egg and that baby, Tango, became their daughter.  People weren't too crazy about it in real life (even though I don't know how you can possibly be mad at penguins,) so they naturally weren't happy when it became a picture book in 2005. 

Roy and Silo broke up in 2005.  Since then, Silo pulled an Anne Heche and has taken up with a girl.  Protesters used this fact as a reason for the book being of a homosexual agenda because the book doesn't address how Silo later entered a "normal" heterosexual relationship.  Not only are they upset that this book promotes homosexual families, but it also champions homosexual behavior in animals which is apparently a huge no-no.

Many, many parents have requested that this book be removed from libraries or placed in a restricted section.  In a school near Washington, D.C., there was a request for the book to be held in a special "alternative families" section.  Parents wanted children to need parental permission to check out the book at an elementary school in Shiloh, IL.  It's number 4 on the ALA's Most Challenged Books from 2000-2009.
Sidenote: Tango is currently dancing with another female penguin.

No comments:

Post a Comment