Happy Day 3 of Banned Books Week! Throughout the week, we will continue to highlight one book from our timeline of banned and challenged books each day. Today we feature the year 2007 and “The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman.
“Northern Lights,” published as “The Golden Compass” in North America, is the first in Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy of fantasy novels for young readers. In 2007, it was pulled from the St. John Neumann Middle and Lourdes High School in Oshkosh, WI because of concerns about what critics call its “anti-Christian message.” It was also challenged at the Conkwright Middle School in Winchester, KY because the main character drinks wine and ingests poppy with her meals, and for anti-Christian doctrine. It was challenged at the Shallowater Middle School in Lubbock, TX and pulled from library shelves at Ortega Middle School in Alamosa, CO, in both cases due to “anti-religious messages.” Similar concerns prompted the Catholic League, a Roman Catholic anti-defamation organization in the U.S., to urge parents to boycott a movie version of the book that was released in December 2007. “Northern Lights” won the prestigious Carnegie Medal in 1995 and was voted the all-time “Carnegie of Carnegies” in 2007.
For more information about Banned Books Week, please visit www.ala.org/bbooks.