Children are typically considered to be some of the most open-minded and curious human beings out there. And this video of a 5-year-old girl reading a LGBTQ children's book for the first time proves that discrimination is something that is taught, not something that a person is born with. In the video, the young girl named Lily and her mother, Sarah, sat down to read And Tango Makes Three, a controversial children's book based on a true story of two male penguins in the New York City Zoo.
According to the book's publisher Simon & Schuster, And Tango Makes Three is a family-focused children's book for modern times:
At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.
The 2005 book has been controversial since its publication, and has been named on American Library Association's list of books that are the most banned and fought against by the public for the past 11 years. But that doesn't seem to matter to Lily, who seems completely unfazed by the idea that two members of the same sex want to have a family together.
Lily's mom, Sarah, seems to be quite pleased by her daughter's handling of the book. Speaking to Gay Star News, Sarah explained that their own family was pretty diverse, which was why she wanted Lily to read And Tango Makes Three. According to HuffPost, "Lily’s older sister, Charlie, is bisexual, while her brother, Benny, identifies as transgender."
And so teaching Lily that the story of the two male penguins was normal was something really important for Sarah to do. Unfortunately, not every parent feels the same; the book has faced a lot of criticism from parents across the world. For example, according to a 2006 report from NBC News, parents in small towns were especially concerned about the contents of the book:
Complaining about the book’s homosexual undertones, some parents of Shiloh Elementary School students believe the book — available to be checked out of the school’s library in this 11,000-resident town 20 miles east of St. Louis — tackles topics their children aren’t ready to handle.
But, at least the book has gotten people talking, something one of the authors is pretty pleased about. Justin Richardson told the School Library Journal in 2011 that "people only challenge a book when they fear it has the power to influence thought and create change." He added, "The fact that our little book has been seen as transformative by so many for so long makes us very proud."
Truly, And Tango Makes Three shows that there's absolutely nothing abnormal about people loving whoever they want to love and it introduces this accepting mentality to kids early on. And for Sarah and Lily, that matters. Continuing her interview with Gay Star News, Sarah explained:
I wish they’d do more on bisexual and transgender to help explain it to younger children who are going through that change, and to help explain it a bit more. It’s giving kids and young children the opportunity to see there is difference out there.
While reading the book, little Lily seems completely unbothered and "blasé," as her mom told Gay Star News. And that's really a beautiful thing. Love is love and family is family — and kids just get that.
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