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September 22-28 marked Banned Books Week in the U.S., and some LGBTT family classics were included on the top ten list again this year, right there with 50 Shades of Grey and — for real — Captain Underpants.

Again the tale of gay penguin dads Roy and Silo at the Central Park Zoo in New York City, And Tango Makes Threemade the list.

If you haven’t read And Tango Makes Three, here’s the story: before the zookeeper gave them an abandoned egg to care for, same sex penguin couple Roy and Silo had such a desire to be parents, they took turns sitting on a rock in their nest, waiting for their ‘egg’ to hatch.

Once they became dads, Roy and Silo parented together just like all the other penguin families at the zoo;  they fed their daughter, they taught her how to swim, and they cuddled with her in their nest at night.

Penguin-family love: controversial because Tango has two penguin daddies. I mean, see how racy this image is:

Todd Parr’s The Family Book, which has a page stating, “Some families have two moms and two dads,” was banned in Erie, Ill. Elementary schools this year.  Try not to get verklempt reading Parr’s books about self-affirmation, courage and love. But some people want them banned.

Meanwhile, Patricia Polacco’s In Our Mothers’ House was the subject of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after being removed from the shelves of elementary school libraries in Davis County, Utah.

Here in Canada Freedom to Read week, which took place in January, featured challenged books Such as Harvey Fiesten’s The Sissy Duckling and Timothy Findley’s The Wars, both because of homosexual content.

Also on the listAdam Mansbach’s Go the F**k to Sleep (for offensive language) and FYI one of Toronto’s weeklies, Now Magazine.

Of note, Polacco’s In Our Mothers’ House is not on the Canadian challenged list but her children’s book, Christmas Tapestry (about the coming together of a Jewish and Christian family at Christmas time through the purchase of a second hand tapestry) is. According to the Freedom of Expression Committee Christmas Tapestry was challenged for violence, age inappropriateness, and “other” reasons.

As per the Freedom of Expression Committee:

“Each challenge sought to limit public access to the works in schools, libraries, or bookstores. Some challenges were upheld; others were rejected. We have tried to update our research on unresolved challenges.

Because some challenges are dismissed, the books remain on library shelves or curriculum lists. We think it worthwhile to include such instances because the effect of a controversy over print material can spread, even though the would-be book-banners lose. A book with a controversial reputation tends to be quietly dropped from reading lists and curricula. This interference can be most insidious — quiet acquiescence to the kind of scare tactics that would-be censors know how to employ.”

It’s a wake-up call that books for kids about love and acceptance continue to be controversial to so many. It’s a wake-up call that books continue to be challenged on our continent, in 2013.

So go ahead and stack these challenged books on your shelves, I say. And why not make sure your kid’s school or daycare library has some copies of these books as well?

Meri Perra  loves reading challenged books with her kids.

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