And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three

Illustrated by: Henry Cole
For Ages: 4 - 8
  • 8
And Tango Makes Three is the bestselling, heartwarming true story of two penguins who create a nontraditional family.

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 get the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.

Selected as an ALA Notable Children’s Book Nominee and a Lambda Literary Award Finalist, “this joyful story about the meaning of family is a must for any library” (School Library Journal, starred review).

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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to And Tango Makes Three

Discussion Questions

1. And Tango Makes Three is a true story. What does this mean? Do you know of other true stories that have been made into books?

2. “Family” is a prominent theme in And Tango Makes Three. Discuss the concept of a “family.” What constitutes a family? Tango’s family is different, but how is it the same as any other family in the zoo? In the world?

3. Roy and Silo are a little bit different from the other penguins in the zoo. What does it mean to be different? Why is it sometimes good to be different?

4. The Central Park Zoo, where And Tango Makes Three takes place, is home to all kinds of animal families. But Tango’s family is unlike the other families in the zoo. Tango has two fathers instead of the traditional mother and father. Do you have a nontraditional family, or do you know someone who does? Do you think that Tango is missing out by not having a mother?

5. Mr. Gramzay, the penguin keeper at the Central Park Zoo, is very sympathetic to Roy and Silo. He is accepting of their differences and wants to help them become a family. How can you learn from Mr. Gramzay’s actions in the book? Who else is accepting of Roy, Silo, and Tango in this story?

6. Mr. Gramzay decides to give Roy and Silo an egg to hatch in their nest. Why do you think he does this? What does he see in see more

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About the Authors

Justin Richardson

Justin Richardson, MD, is the coauthor, with Peter Parnell, of the award-winning picture book And Tango Makes Three. Dr. Richardson is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia and Cornell and the coauthor of Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They’d Ask). Dr. Richardson and his advice have been featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post, on the Today show and NPR’s Morning Edition, and in numerous magazines. Dr. Richardson lectures to parents and teachers on parenting and the sexual development of children.

Peter Parnell
Photo Credit:

Peter Parnell

Peter Parnell is the coauthor, with Justin Richardson, of And Tango Makes Three. He is a playwright whose plays have been produced at the Public Theater and Playwrights Horizons in New York City, the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and the Seattle Repertory Company, among others. His play QED was produced on Broadway. He has written extensively for television as a producer for both The West Wing and The Guardian; he has also written episodes of Maurice Sendak’s series Little Bear. He lives in New York City.