And Tango Makes Three: Banned Books Week [Guest Post]
For today’s Banned Books Week post I am proud to present a guest post from my brother Vince Preston. So here it is, his thoughts for …
In honor of Banned Books Week, I’d like to talk to you about one of the more recently challenged books, making the Top 10 list every year since is was published in 2005. The book I’m referring to is And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Tango is a children’s book that focuses on the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo, who raised a chick together as co-parents. The argument made by those who challenge the book goes something along the lines that it isn’t appropriate to talk about same-sex couples with children.
I’d like to put a small frame around my argument against these types of challenges. My wife and I recently adopted our son from Korea, making us a trans-racial family. In the years leading up to our adoption, we went to many adoption and parenting classes and were told by our social workers that this would change everything. We did not realize how true this was until we finally brought Little Man home a few months ago. Our family looks different. This is a fact that I can’t change and wouldn’t change. But because of this, my wife and I notice the looks we get from time to time when we are out in public. Nothing outright racist or anything but its clear they are trying to figure our family out, and it gets uncomfortable.
Eventually, Little Man is going to start noticing these looks. Even worse, his peers, lacking tact the way children so often do, will eventually talk about how he doesn’t look like his parents and how his family looks different when compared to so many others here in Iowa. Because of this, its so very important to have books that talk about how families can look different but still be a family. In a society where families can take every shape and size, it is not only appropriate for children to learn this but it should be encouraged. Tango does exactly that. The book does not encourage a same sex lifestyle, but instead is a story about accepting different types of families. To quote one of the authors, “We wrote the book to help parents teach children about same-sex parent families. It’s no more an argument in favor of human gay relationships than it is a call for children to swallow their fish whole or sleep on rocks.”
Vince Preston spends his time with his wife and their adopted son in Waukee, Ia. When he isn’t off doing fun things with them he can often be found hanging out with my family, frequently geeking out with me to Eureka or MythBusters.