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Penguins and American History Top the List for ID “Banned Books Week”

October 1, 2007

Boise, ID – Some are new, some are classics, some are based on true stories. That describes the wide range of books on this year's list of most-often banned or challenged books. It's Banned Books Week, and libraries throughout the state are putting "banned books" on prominent display. Some of the titles are surprising: they include "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Where the Wild Things Are," and "Little House in the Big Woods."

Jeanne Farnworth with the Portneuf District Library in Chubbuck says most people who learn about the list tell her they had no idea the books had even been controversial.

"It really makes them think about their freedom to read. The principle behind the freedom to read is what we really try to get out with our display."

Farnworth says both the Bible and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" have been tops on the banned list in previous years. Books are usually challenged or banned because of sexual content. However, a new entry on the "most challenged" list is the book, "And Tango Makes Three." It's the story of two male penguins that raise an egg. Linda Bequette with the Garden Valley District Library says the book is sometimes challenged because of perceived homosexuality, although the story is based on a real-life case at the Bronx Zoo. Bequette adds a Boise zookeeper told her of similar situations during a school tour.

"They only have two male penguins in their group, so the females team up and raise babies together. It's not 'homosexual' -- it's what happens in nature."

Learn more about the 2007 "Banned Books" list online, at
www.ala.org.

Deborah Smith/John Robinson, Public News Service - ID