Winner the second; and, penguin Papas

And the second winner in The Great THE ART OF DETECTION Advance Reading Copy Giveaway is, appropriately enough (honest, this is a random drawing!) Philip in San Francisco. Appropriate because TAoD’e2’80’99s victim goes by that name’e2’80’94please don’e2’80’99t let this put you off, Phil.

We’e2’80’99re drawing from the mailing list of the LRK newsletter, and we have six more weeks and six more books to go. If you’e2’80’99re not on the list and want a stab at this, sign up at before next Monday’e2’80’99s drawing.

And from my newspaper the other day:

In Missouri, a children’e2’80’99s book about two male penguins who adopt and raise an abandoned egg has been moved form the kids’e2’80’99 section of the library to the nonfiction department (after the complaints of two parents), so it would not ‘e2’80’9cblindside’e2’80’9d readers.

And lest you think this is some queer (both senses) storyteller’e2’80’99s imagination at work, it is based on an event in the late ‘e2’80’9890s at NY’e2’80’99s Central Park Zoo. Adoptions aren’e2’80’99t unusual in the penguin world. It’e2’80’99s only homo sapiens who get all hot about it.

Come on, librarians. Can’e2’80’99t you suggest your patrons just get a life?

Posted in


  1. Anonymous on March 13, 2006 at 2:58 pm

    We do, Laurie. We do.

  2. Vicki Larson on March 13, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    If this weren’t pathetic it would be hilarious. Maybe it can be both. Sigh.

  3. Anonymous on March 13, 2006 at 8:49 pm

    Yes, it is pathetic. BUT, as a librarian, I understand our duty is to listen to all patron complaints. We may not be able to solve all problems to the satisfaction of the patron (perhaps the penguin complainers wanted the book removed entirely) but we can at least give them the courtesy of listening. I would guess that putting the book in non-fiction is a good compromise. At least it is still there.

    Librarians do tell patrons they need to work with their children to find books acceptable to the family, but that is not a popular stand — many patrons just want the book out.

    The American Library Association monthly pub routinely lists challenges to books in both school and public libraries. Most are of the “get a life” type.


  4. Anonymous on March 14, 2006 at 12:13 am

    I wanted to read this book to my second graders as part of our penguin study unit – as just that, a story based on true events.

    I was told I couldn’t, and couldn’t donate the book to our school library either, because it might upset some parents.

    *massive eyeroll*

  5. Anonymous on March 14, 2006 at 12:47 am

    Gee, I thought fathers were important, too. If it had been “one” male penguin instead of “two” that adopted the egg, do you think that would have been acceptable? I’ll bet these are the same folks who lie awake nights worrying that Tinkie Winkie might be a gay doll. Lot’s of children are being raised by men … fathers, uncles, grandfathers … even older brothers or cousins. And what about the adoption of “Ernie” on My Three Sons? Could four male family members not adopt a little boy (or even a penguin) in the magical kingdom these folks seem to think they inhabit? Irate Iris Lady

  6. chris on March 14, 2006 at 11:58 am

    That is just so – well, everything previous posters have said. It takes political correctness too far, doesn’t it? Mind you, there are libraries in the UK that at times have removed Enid Blyton and Harry Potter from the shelves…


  7. Linda C on March 14, 2006 at 8:06 pm

    The link to sign up for your newsletter still isn’t working…anywhere else to sign up??

  8. Beth on March 14, 2006 at 8:49 pm

    I heard about this before, and I have one question–did the library have aa children’s nonfiction section? My library growing up did, but I don’t know about the one I go to now.

    On the other hand, maybe the whiners will be even more scared with the book where it is. This way, they can’t even deny to their kids that it happens. If it were in literature, they could always say that that kind of thing is all in somebody’s imagination.

  9. Maer on March 15, 2006 at 3:53 am

    Oh, please!

    Did those complaintants even *read* the book, or is this another incident like the one that happened in my senior year in high school– a student had to drop out of AP English, because her parents didn’t want her to read the ‘violent rape scene’ in _Tess of the D’Urbervilles_. The Roman Polanski movie had been released some time prior and it was obvious to me, at any rate, that the parents had the movie in mind, and hadn’t a clue as to what Hardy had actually written. The teacher had no choice but let the student go.

    That was over twenty years ago, and it still rankles that there are such close-minded people out there: those who are quick to condemn what they believe exists, even when presented with irrefutable proof that it does not.

    — resolved now to find that penguin book for her daughter(who adores the animals)…

  10. Elaine McC. on March 15, 2006 at 4:52 am

    Go penguin papas and mamas! — ooooh-good name for a band!!

    Gay penguins — hello! This is just another species — we’re all part of the universal, genetic plan.

    Librarians — remember our Bill of Rights for Patrons. See:

    On another library (sort-of) note: Why do publishers follow ill-advised bindery practices? My copy of THE GAME fell apart after one reading. I’m not hard on books. This was a paperback — still – no excuse. I took my copy to work (our bindery specialist was sickened — {she sees too much shoddy glue work apparently), applied a new coat of glue, and sentenced the book to the guillotine. I’ll check out the results tomorrow. I need a re-read!! I’ve been invited to India, and hope to spy Mary Russell, Sherlock Holmes, and Kim on my journey!! My brother and cousin have challenged one another to a camel race — yes we’re crazy Celts!!

    So, Laurie, thanks for all your wonderful stories. I’m India bound, and have you to thank for my desire to make this journey.

    Thanks!! –jem

  11. Elaine McC. on March 15, 2006 at 5:15 am

    On another note–Gee you get up early!!! All your posts are in the wee hours.

    blessings, jem

  12. Anonymous on March 15, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    Would someone please tell me the name of the penguin book so I can order it. My grandchildren would love it … since no one has slammed their minds shut so far.

  13. Elaine McC. on March 15, 2006 at 6:58 pm

    And Tango Makes Three (Ala Notable Children’s Books. Younger Readers (Awards)) (Hardcover)
    by Peter Parnell, Justin Richardson

  14. Hannah on March 16, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    Hey…I went looking for the longer section of your biography to read and cant find it. Supposedly it is somewhere awhol in your site since the redisigning effort.

  15. Hannah on March 16, 2006 at 11:35 pm

    Hi…I just did some digging and found this on line in reference to the Tango Makes Three book…

    “Librarian: Media Fictionalized Penguin Tango Flap
    A week after media outlets around the world began reporting that a Missouri library system had moved And Tango Makes Three, a children’e2’80’99s picture book about two male penguins raising a baby together, Rolling Hills Consolidated Library Director Barbara Read was still fielding e-mails and phone calls about whether she should have restricted the title. But the book hasn’e2’80’99t been restricted at all, she responded over and over’e2’80’94just moved from children’e2’80’99s fiction to children’e2’80’99s nonfiction because it tells a true story.
    Read told American Libraries that a widely circulated Associated Press report stemmed from the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press seeing in the February library board report Read’e2’80’99s correspondence with a Savannah couple, who had complained that Tango has a gay subtext. Read responded that she had decided to retain the book but move it to children’e2’80’99s nonfiction after having read it and consulted with zoologists about penguin behavior. The complainants thanked her for researching the issues, and acknowledged that while they disagreed with Read’e2’80’99s conclusions, they respected her opinion and that the reconsideration process made them ‘e2’80’9cfeel like valued patrons.’e2’80’9d

    In stark contrast to that exchange of civilities, Read told AL, ‘e2’80’9cI have been accused of just about anything and everything, and called every name in the book’e2’80’9d by people who’e2’80’99ve reacted to erroneous newspaper reports. ‘e2’80’9cI’e2’80’99ve responded to many e-mails and received apologies,’e2’80’9d she added.

    The bottom line, Read said, is that Tango will remain accessible so ‘e2’80’9cthe book can say to kids in nonnuclear families that they’e2’80’94the kids’e2’80’94are okay regardless of how we feel about their parents’e2’80’99 life choices.’e2’80’9d

    Posted March 10, 2006; modified March 15, 2006.”

    While I think that that is a lot more of a stand the the paper portrays the Librarian taking, I do feel a bit sadden by it. That book wont make it into the hands of kids while it is sitting in the adult section. It is marginally better than banning it altogether.

  16. Anonymous on March 16, 2006 at 11:55 pm

    Most libraries (and librarians) are on the forefront of all attempts to limit freedoms—-and when the ‘typical’ image of librarians comes up, most of us do not put them in this role!
    On another note, a good friend (in her 50s now) was raised by her aunt and the aunt’s ‘good friend’–another female. To this day, my friend will say “children need a place to call home and someone to love them–they don’t care who it is or what they are.” Too bad most adults don’t share this view of what makes good parents.

  17. Vicki Larson on March 17, 2006 at 3:53 am

    If I understand what the librarian did was to move the Tango book from child’s fiction to child’s nonfiction. Not the adult non- fiction. Am I right?

  18. Anonymous on March 17, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    Replying to Vicki Larson, yes, the quoted news report posted by Hannah does say that the book was moved to the children’s non-ficton section. So it’s not hidden with the adult stuff. I think more kids might encounter it in non-fiction as kids tend to want “penguin books” and once they can find that non-fiction section, they can find Tango. They might not browse in fiction.

    Regarding the “anonymous” post after Hannah’s and before Vicki’s, I think the poster meant to say that libraries and librarians are on the forefront of the forefront of the fight against attempts to limit freedoms — or perhaps under attack.

    Much as I love Laurie King the person (as known through her blog) I must say that I found her remark asking if librarians could just tell the patrons to get a life was
    unnecessarily flip on a very serious subject — the ongoing campaign to remove/restric access, usually by kids, to books felt to be “unsuitable.” Local public libraries probably have a copy of the monthly American Library Association Journal (or whatever its title is these days) floating around; read this each month to learn of the latest challenges, library by library, school by school. It’s way beyond “get a life.”

    Maybe she just got up too early that day ….

  19. Anonymous on March 18, 2006 at 10:38 pm

    Folks, fellow readers and posters…it is so invigorating and refreshing to read us than the average daily news…

    As a grown up Lesbian I still am fundementally appalled by the fact that my basic human rights can be and are denied as if I were a member of some sub-species (and that would be what Blacks, Hispanics, Jews,and all the rest of us who have been there done that and in this country at least it is no longer legal to discriminate against) who have no right to exist, be heard, treated like all other beings.

    To suggest that a child not know of me and my people is truly frightening today 2006, don’t you think?

    I can’t marry my partner of 23 years. (We raised together, by the way a very fine young hetrosexual lad of 36 today, full of service, good will and happily married to a wonderful young woman).

    I am discriminated against by my own government as to tax stucture, tax breaks, health care, penalized because I can not legally (in eyes of my government) marry.

    I am discriminated aganist in my job, housing and ability to gain loans, without so much as the blink of an eye or raising of an eye brow. In otherwords as a matter of course.

    Hey, maybe those parents aren’t so far off, they don’t want their children to know of such blatant disregard of basic human rights in their country.

    Best kept secrets and all that.

    Wasn’t it our very own past President who enjoined us all to:

    “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”



  20. Vicki Larson on March 21, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    My sister was a children’s librarian for many years in an urban library. The first book that I remember her talking about as raising a ruckus in the public was “Harriet, the Spy.” The reason cited was that Harriet had opinions that differed from her parents’ opinions. Perish the thought. I suppose the trick is to influence public opinion, not dynamite it. It is, however, hard to have the patience necessary. And for how long? If we don’t make a ruckus these outdated and ridiculous customs will never change. So… bless the librarians who must take the heat on the front lines.

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