Friday, February 1, 2008

and tango makes three

Title: and tango makes three

Authors: Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Illustrator: Henry Cole

Summary: and tango makes three is a wonderful story about families. There are all different kinds of families that visit Central Park, but there are different kinds of families that live in the park as well. Two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo, Silo and Roy, spend all of their time together doing things that a penguin "couple" would do. When Mr. Gramzay, their keeper, notices this, he gives Silo and Roy an egg that is unable to be cared for by its own parents. Silo and Roy take care of, hatch and love their new baby, Tango. This book sends the message that every family is different, and the only thing that really defines a family is love.

Reflections: The first thing I noticed about this book is its strong message about family. It does not matter who your family is made up of- as long as there is love, your family is complete. I also really liked the idea that just because a couple is made up of a male and female does not mean that they will make the best parents, as we see in the case of the penguins who cannot successfully take care of their own egg. This book also includes the messages of adoption in a way, as well as homosexuality. These messages are not blatant, which leaves room for a teacher to use the book from whichever angle he/she chooses. My favorite message of the book is about Mr. Gramzay, the zoo keeper. Last year we spoke a lot of social justice allies. These are people that advocate for change who may not be directly affected by the issue at hand. Mr. Gramzay believed in Silo and Roy's love and gave them the chance to show that love through a child.

How to Use This Book in the Curriculum: In first grade, the social studies curriculum speaks about the students' community. Last year, I planned and taught a unit on Central Park, which is part of their community on the Upper East Side (and much of Manhattan). It mentions places in Central Park, and the students could even go visit to see Silo, Roy and Tango. This book would be wonderful to use in this unit. Beside social studies, this book would be great to use in science for an animal unit (most obviously penguins, but other animals it mentions, and even a zoo study). In math, the concept on doubling or couples is very important, and could be helped along by the concept of Silo and Roy as a "couple" of two penguins.

Domains of Social Justice:
1.) Self-Love and Acceptance: This book sends a great message to those students who might feel that their families are "different". The messages that all families are at least a little different from each other, and that a family is only defined by love, are very prominent.
2.) Respect for Others: The story promotes tolerance and respect for other people and their families, not matter who they are made up of. It also shows a great example of a "different" kind of family being wonderful parents.
3.) Exploring Issues of Social Justice: Since Silo and Roy did become great parents, would it have been fair for them to be denied the chance to have children (adopt)? (This could turn into a conversation about adoption laws for homosexual singles and couples.)
4.) Social Movements and Social Change: Just by reading this book, it is taking a stand for equality and tolerance inside and outside the classroom, despite book bans and restrictions in certain parts of the country.
5.) Taking Social Action: Like Mr. Gramzay, students learn that they do not have to be the ones being oppressed to stand up for what is right. Being an ally is very important and can change people's lives.


No comments: