1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling 2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier 4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell 5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck 6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou 7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz 8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman 9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle 10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky 11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers 12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris 13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey 14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain 15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison 16. Forever, by Judy Blume 17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker 18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous 19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger 20. King and King, by Linda de Haan 21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar 23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry 24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak 25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan 26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison 27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier 28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson 29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney 30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier 31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones 32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya 33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson 34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler 35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison 36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley 37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris 38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles 39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane 40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank 41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher 42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi 43. Blubber, by Judy Blume 44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher 45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly 46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut 47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey 48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez 49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey 50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini 51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan 52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson 53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco 54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole 55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green 56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester 57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause 58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going 59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes 60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson 61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle 62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard 63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney 64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park 65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien 66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor 67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham 68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez 69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury 70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen 71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park 72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison 73. What’s Happening to My BodyBook, by Lynda Madaras 74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold 75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry 76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving 77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert 78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein 79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss 80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck 81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright 82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill 83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds 84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins 85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher 86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick 87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume 88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood 89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger 90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle 91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George 92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar 93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard 94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine 95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix 96. Grendel, by John Gardner 97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende 98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte 99. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume 100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank
Marmee, Meema, and the kids are just like any other family on the block. In their beautiful house, they cook dinner together, they laugh together, and they dance together. But some of the other families don’t accept them. They say they are different. How can a family have two moms and no dad? But Marmee and Meema’s house is full of love. And they teach their children that different doesn’t mean wrong. And no matter how many moms or dads they have, they are everything a family is meant to be..
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
In the zoo there are all kinds of animal families. But Tango’s family is not like any of the others. Based on the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who built a nest and hatched a chick together, this book tells a heartwarming story for all families.
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, and two pets. And she also has two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn’t have a daddy. Then something interesting happens. When Heather and her classmates all draw pictures of their families, not one drawing is the same. It doesn’t matter who makes up a family, the teacher says, because “the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love one another.”
I have written a lot about the importance of a well-stocked classroom library to which students have easy access. I firmly believe that a good classroom library must include many diverse characters and families for a number of reasons. Students deserve to see kids “like them” portrayed in stories, and all students benefit from reading about different kinds of children and families. While students need to be explicitly taught about diversity, I also believe a lot comes from the moments kids read entertaining, well-written stories and encounter differences on their own.
I have many books with characters of color, single parents, and topics such as discrimination, divorce, immigration, foster care, homelessness, and loss and grief. My library also includes many LGBTQ children’s books. I thought teachers (and others!) might benefit from some suggestions. Most of these books would be appropriate for grades 1-6 (I teach 4th):
Books revolving around GAY MARRIAGE
For some reason, marriage is central to many LGBTQ children’s books. I don’t always love this theme, but it’s a different take on a typical fairytale.
King & King by Linda de Haan: A King doesn’t want to marry princesses, so he marries a man instead. Kids seem to like this one.
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen
Donovan’s Big Day by Leslea Newman: At the end of the story, it is revealed that Donovan’s aunt is marrying a woman. Kids seem to be “surprised” by this one.
Other books about GAY FAMILIES
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson:A classroom favorite.
In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco:Polacco is a very well-regarded children’s author, and I read this book to my class every year around Mother’s Day.
Antonio’s Card / La Tarjeta de Antonio by Rigoberto Gonzalez:I especially love this book because it features a child of color and is a bilingual book. It is very difficult to find LGBTQ books about anything other than caucasian families, or animals.
Families by Susan Kuklin:This book includes interviews with many different real-life families, including one gay and one lesbian. Kids don’t seem to go for it as much as the story-book ones, but I like it.
Books about GENDER:
In addition to books about gay families, there are many great books about gender. I posted about a few lessons I did here and here. Some books I include in my classroom are…
Horrace and Morris but Mostly Dolores by James Howe
The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein
The Paper Bag Princess by Rober Munsch
Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola
My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis
10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert
William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow
A Note About LGBTQ Books:
I believe that teachers need to protect themselves and their job, but I also believe that students deserve an uncensored library. I teach in a mostly liberal area, but many of my families are traditional and conservative, and I know for a fact some of them do not support gay rights. Still, all students are allowed to read these books and take them home as they would any other book. Many of my students have commented that the books are “surprising” or “different,” but they don’t say these comments with disdain. Indeed, many children have asked for other books “like these books.” I have not had families complain about what I have in my classroom library, and I don’t believe that (in my case, at least) the potential of a complaint warrants removing such books. I encourage other teachers to also incorporate LGBTQ texts into their classroom collection.
Patrochilles au where the both of them run a kindergarten
aahhhh i LOVE THIS
achilles is in charge of the morning kindergarten group and patroclus is in charge of the afternoon kids, but usually they both stay all day and act as each other’s aides
they’re both so good with the kids in their own way!! like achilles is silly and funny and leads them in outside games, and he brings his guitar to school once or twice a week for “music lessons” that are more like singalongs
and patroclus comes up with all the art projects, and he knows just how to help the kids do things on their own without doing the projects for them, and he tells the best stories at story time and he kisses boo-boos better
achilles and patroclus become really close because you don’t spend five days a week corralling five-year-olds without bonding with the person helping you through it
they hang out at the school after all the kids get picked up, partially to plan activities for the next day but also partially to relax and unwind together before they go home to their empty apartments
patroclus starts to suggest a book they could read tomorrow, but achilles blushes a lil bit and says “um, actually, i’ve got that covered” and he refuses to say anything else on the matter
patroclus goes home and forgets about it but then the next morning he comes back to the classroom after gathering snack supplies to see achilles, sitting in the rocking chair with the kids gathered around and a book on his knee
the book is about two boy penguins who make a nest together and raise a baby penguin together, and patroclus just stands in the doorway and listens and can’t take his eyes off achilles and he kind of wants to cry at how gentle but sure achilles’s voice is
achilles finishes the story and finally looks up and sees patroclus, and his cheeks go pink and he can’t look patroclus in the eye
achilles expected the kids to have some questions after a book like that, but one question he wasn’t expecting comes from a tiny blonde girl in the front row
“are you and mr. pat making a nest together?”
and achilles is stuttering his way through a denial when patroclus says, “that’s a good question, emily. there’s no one i’d rather make a nest with than mr. achilles”
and now both of them are screaming internally but they can’t talk about it until the kids go down for a nap which is more than an hour away RIP
[whispered, during nap time] “did you mean it? or did you just say that for the class?”
“of course i meant it. well, we probably shouldn’t actually build a penguin nest. that would be weird. but we could start with a date?”
a year later they read the penguin book to another class, hand in hand
The Number 1 challenged book in America: Tango Makes Three.
Lemme spoil it for you. It’s about two gay penguins that wants to have a child, and hatch a little girl named Tango whose parents were overwhelmed by having two eggs rather than one. It’s seen as inappropriate for its age group for containing homosexuality and goes against religious viewpoints.
It’s a lovely story about family values and acceptance. It is also a true story and it deeply saddens me that this is how it’s treated.
“And Tango Makes Three” Tops List of Banned Books Published on September 28th, 2011 Written by: Mhaire F
This week is Banned Books Week, and we’re celebrating by showcasing various books which have been censored for a variety of reasons. Celebrate this week by picking up one of these books and reading.
The Central Park Zoo in New York has an unlikely but lovable pair of animals. This is a true story. It is so charming that Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell teamed up with well-known illustrator Henry Cole to create a children’s book out of the story. They called it “And Tango Makes Three.” It is nothing short of delightful.
It has been on the banned books list since it was published in 2005. It is usually listed as the number one most-banned title, although one year went fell to second place.
Roy and Silo are a pair of chinstrap penguins who reside in the penguin quarters. When the girl penguins noticed the boy penguins and when the boy penguins noticed the girl penguins, Roy and Silo, two boys, noticed each other. They bowed and sang to each other and made a nice nest. But it was a little empty. They then noticed that the other Penguins couples could do something they could not do. They tried and tried, even rolling an egg shaped rock and sitting on it for hours, but they could not hatch it.
One of the zookeepers noticed, and when another penguin couple produced two fertile eggs, he gave one of the m to Roy and Silo. The odds of having two fertile eggs raised to adulthood by one couple are slim. Twins are hard everywhere, it seems.
Roy and Silo knew ‘just what to do” and kept the egg warm, turning it over and over so all sides would benefit, and finally, their daughter Tango arrived. (Get it? Because it takes two to make a Tango?). Her fathers fed her and sang to her and snuggled her warm at night.
“She was the very first penguin to have two daddies.”
And there it is, the line that prompted the ban.
This book talks about love, and family, and the heartbreak of being childless. It talks about families who are not conventional and who love each other anyway. Indeed the inside fly cover reads: “In the zoo there are all kinds of families. But Tango’s family is not like any of the others.”
Now, as far as I could research, Tango, Roy and Silo are still a happy family. It took the kindness of a zookeeper, and an extra egg to create it. It makes me wonder what would happen if there were kind zookeepers in the wild. Maybe Tango would not have been the first penguin with two daddies, or two mommies.
The concept of homosexuality is the reason for the ban. Except the book isn’t about that, and it is now on my bookshelf, where any of my friends can read it, no matter their age. Children between the ages of six and nine have definite ideas about gender roles, but are willing to accept the idea of two daddies, or two mommies, or one mommy or one daddy. This is 2011. They live with all different kinds of families now.
I showed it to a 13-year-old friend of mine, and he flipped through the pages trying to find the reason for the ban. He couldn’t do it. He didn’t see anything wrong with Roy and Silo. I am so grateful for that, and hope that many more kids see this book the same way. Better yet, that their parents do.
As a classroom teacher, I’ve come to learn that families can look different in each child’s life. Yes it’s possible that a child may have a traditional nuclear family: mom, dad, son and daughter. But it’s becoming increasingly more common that a child’s family does not resemble this 1950s social construct of a “perfect family.”
In reality, families today may include any combination of the following members: mom, dad, stepdad, stepmom, two moms, two dads, grandmother(s), grandfather(s), aunt(s), uncle(s), a single mom, a single dad, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, step siblings, and half siblings.
As a teacher it is my responsibility to make sure that all students’ families are represented in our classroom and through my instruction. The first and most basic way I approach this is by referring to kids’ parents/guardians as their “grown ups.” This takes out any assumptions that their guardians are in fact a mom and a dad. And, as usual, picture books are a great way to introduce kids to family diversity!
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson is a book about two real-life penguins at the Central Park Zoo. Roy and Silo are different from the other penguins, but like all penguins, they want a family. One day the zoo keeper helps make their dream come true! Roy and Silo raise Tango and teach her how to do penguin things, like sing when she wants to be fed. This is a wonderful story about love and a family with two dads. (Recommended for kids in 1st-3rd grades.)
For even younger readers, pre-k to 1st, Todd Parr’s It’s Okay to Be Different explores many different types of diversity, including family structure.
With fun illustrations and bright colors, Parr teaches the reader that being different is something to be celebrated and that we should accept one another’s differences. With regard to family structure, this book includes a family with different moms, a family with different dads, and a family that has adopted. It’s Okay to Be Different promotes love, acceptance and self-confidence.
A third amazing picture book (for kindergarten-2nd graders) that addresses family diversity is Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman.
In this story, Heather is a happy and carefree little girl. She loves the number two. She has two of many things in her life, including two mommies. When Heather goes to school, a child asks her about her dad. She doesn’t have one. However, when the children in Heather’s class are asked to draw pictures of their families, the kids see that all of their families look different!
Why I disagree with the NLB's decision as a parent
Why I disagree with the NLB’s decision as a parent
Submission by Radhika Puri
The National Library Board (NLB) in Singapore has banned two books for not being “pro-family”. Two books in question are ‘And Tango Makes Three’ (an award-winning book about two same sex penguins who raised a baby) and The White Swan Express (features a lesbian couple adopting a child).
For me, as I follow this controversy, a few issues come to mind.
We sometimes assume, and I have made this mistake many times, that the state is a neutral actor or umpire. It most certainly isn’t. It can and often does have opinions on many issues such as religion, or what kind of family is an ideal family, as in this case. For many reasons, one of which I assume is respect to religious views, Singapore supports traditional family structures. It prides itself on being a multi-religious, multi-racial society and defends this pluralism fiercely. Yet, are notions about pluralism meant to be only about race, religion and colour? In banning these books, hasn’t NLB taken a little bit away from a pluralistic society? Love and respect people of all races and colour, but the following are the exceptions?
My second issue with this decision is one as a parent. As a writer, I disagree with the NLB decision for obvious reasons. We live in a diverse world and literature must reflect that. But as a parent I disagree on behalf of all the kids out there who may be growing up in households that don’t fit into stereotypical definitions of family.
I grew up in a ‘normal’ household, with the kind of mother who knew just when to walk in with a tall glass of frothy cold coffee and a crisp cheese toast, on those balmy Sundays when that book was just too good to put down, and I was hungry but too lazy to get up and get anything for myself. And the sort of father who wrote Urdu poetry and thought it would be fun and entertaining to give you life lessons through it.
But what if I hadn’t grown up in this environment? What if I grew up in an entirely different environment? What if I had two gay fathers? Or mothers? What if my parents were separated or divorced and I grew up in a single parent household?
One can argue that this is a pointless argument as the first two options are not possible in Singapore. I see your argument and raise you this; what if I grew up with a woman who never got married because she didn’t want to but still wanted to be a mother and adopted me. What then?
Would I still be able to lead a meaningful life? Be a valuable and contributing member of society? Make appropriate and intelligent decisions for my life? I’d like to believe the answer to these questions is a ‘yes’ . I would like to believe that I still had a fair shot of growing up ‘normal’ and loved and secure – same as the person next to me, who may have grown up with two different sex parents, a dog, and a goldfish.
As parents we all want a life reminiscent of running through cornfields for our children, a picket fence and the like. But life doesn’t come in perfect little shapes and sizes. And neither do family structures. By straightjacketing and creating a fenced in version of family, you leave out kids that may be growing up in different kinds of families. To them you are giving the message that you are ‘different’ and not necessarily in a good way. Instead of telling them, its fine, you are going to be okay. Its hard enough for certain kids who may need to battle society’s opinions through life. Must they also battle the state’s opinions?
AND TANGO MAKES THREE by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Roy and Silo are just like the other penguin couples at the zoo - they bow to each other, walk together and swim together. But Roy and Silo are a little bit different - they’re both boys. Then, one day, when Mr Gramzay the zookeeper finds them trying to hatch astone, he realises that it may be time for Roy and Silo to become parents for real.