By Terry Hong
September 29, 2011
In case you needed another reminder, Banned Books Week continues for a couple more days . . . hope we’ve got lots of rebel readers out there! Since #1 on the “Top ten most frequently challenged books of 2010” is again And Tango Makes Three, I thought this newest title from author Cynthia Chin-Lee would make a lovely companion title to adorable Tango.
goes to school one day to have her friend Zach tell her they “can’t be
best friends anymore.” The reason he gives—directly from his father—is
because of Alex’s parents. According to Zach’s father, Alex’s parents
aren’t married: “‘My dad says two women can’t be married.’”
When Alex tells Mama Kathy what happened, she assures her young daughter that, of course, they’re married. When Mama Kathy and Mama Lee were denied a marriage license years and years ago, they instead held a commitment ceremony, complete with legal contracts that permanently bound their lives together. Temporarily reassured, that night Alex, her younger brother Nicky and both parents share warm laughter watching the video of Mama Kathy and Mama Lee’s commitment ceremony. And in the morning, Alex has a plan . . .
Now that the laws have changed and their two mothers can legally marry, Alex and Nicky devise Operation Marriage.
But they need to move quickly before the laws change again; already,
even some of their neighbors—including Zach’s father—are posting signs
in their yard, ready to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.
Just in time, Alex and Nicky get their mothers to the altar: “Most kids don’t get to see their parents marry. But we’re not most kids.” And Zach? Well . . . cookies speak louder than words!
For those who believe, true love does conquer all.
Tidbit: When I first opened Operation Marriage—all I knew about it was that I admired the author’s previous titles—Cynthia Chin-Lee’s dedication jumped out at me: “To the real Alex and Nikki, who inspired this, and to the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto.” I don’t see that spelling of “Nikki” often … and a little light started going full tilt in my head. Then I saw the names Kathy and Lee as I turned the pages, and had a near heart attack . . . of joy. Immediately, I sent a message of delighted shock and gleeful surprise . . . !!
So it turns out, I’m in the book (by association)—in that commitment ceremony video the family enjoys together. I was there in that lovely old stone church in Harvard Square those many, many years ago (we really were oh so young then!) celebrating the marriage of my favorite college running buddy Lee (how many endless times did we run Balch Hill and Occom Pond??) to the love of her life Kathy. I didn’t make it to ceremony #2 (alas, alas), but I am seeing Lee next month. Hopefully the rest of the crew soon, too!
Like I said, for those who believe, true love conquers all. Makes little miracles happen, too. For penguins and people, ahem!