Author: Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Illustration: Henry Cole
Link to book: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780689878459&itm=1
Summary: Many different kinds of families go to the Central Park zoo in New York City. In the zoo, there are also many different kinds of animal families that live there, and among them, is the Tango family. Every year female penguins and male penguins start to notice each other and become a couple. But there are two penguins in the penguin house that are a little different. Roy and Silo are boys but they do everything together; They walk together, sing to each other, and swim together. One day, they notice that other penguins are able to do something they cannot do. The mama penguin lays and egg and the papa penguin takes turns keeping the egg warm until it hatches. The zookeeper who notices this, takes an egg that needs to be cared for and puts it in Roy and Silo’s nest. Soon tango is born and is the first one in the zoo to have two daddies! The children who come to the zoo can see Tango and her two fathers playing in the penguin house. At night, the three penguins return to their nest to snuggle and sleep just like all the other animals in the zoo.
Reflections: The fact that this book was based on an actual true event immediately drew me to this book. I felt that students would connect more to the story knowing that the event took place in the same city they live in. Even though the book is for younger children, it’s definitely delightful enough for an older audience as well. The illustrations in the book are done in beautiful soft watercolors.
How would I use the book/curriculum units: This is a great book that can be integrated into a social studies curriculum such as the family unit. It can be used as a springboard to introduce or discuss topics of homosexuality and educate children about different kinds of families. You can easily integrate science by doing studies/research on different animal species too.
Domains of Social Justice:
1. Self love and acceptance: This book sends the strong message to its readers that it is totally ok to be different and not necessarily follow the “norm” like in the case of Roy and Silo. We should love and accept ourselves for who we are.
2. Respect for others: We learn through this book the importance to respect others even if they are different from ourselves.
3. Exploring issues of social justice: The book definitely opens doors to a discussion on homosexuality and those that are being oppressed for this reason.
4. Social movements and social change: The book depicts the story of Roy and Silo who even though they diverge from the “norm” at the zoo, they prove to be just as loving and caring parents for Tango.