Peter Parnell Justin Richardson
The first we heard about the story was in an article that Dinitia Smith wrote about Roy, Silo, and Tango that appeared in the New York Times. We were both delighted and touched by the story of these two penguins who had become a couple, and tried to hatch a rock, and their zookeeper becoming aware of what they were trying to do. It sounded like a children’s story to us. And because we were aware, obviously, of the many different kinds of families there are, it seemed like a great way to tell that story.
A.B. How are you responding to the controversy (some are having withTango) to pull it from some school library shelves? In one school I visited it was right out on the display shelf.
The controversy around the book has been very dismaying, of course. The idea of trying to make the book less available to children, or trying to ban it completely, is angering and disheartening to hear. At the same time, we’ve been very heartened by the majority of librarians, journalists, and readers who’ve responded so favorably to the book, who’ve embraced it strongly, and who are strong in their response to the critics, and in their desire for the book to remain available to everybody.
A.B. What has been the feedback you’ve received from readers both young and old?
The feedback has been great. Young readers ask questions about everything from, tell us more about the penguin house, to, how do we recognize Roy and Silo from all the other penguins? Older readers are moved by Roy and Silo sitting on that rock, trying to hatch it (which often makes younger readers laugh). We’ve received many thanks from same-sex couples with kids, from single moms and dads. Our favorite thing is to read the book to kids at schools and bookstores.
I’d like to personally THANK Peter and Justin for sharing their story with SLJ Blog readers. Please feel free to leave them comments.
A.B. Who/What inspired you to write AND TANGO MAKES THREE?