Philip Pullman "very glad to be back in the top 10 banned books"

Only one book beat the Golden Compass author's trilogy in frequency of banning attempts

The American Library Association’s yearly list of books targeted for censorship in schools and libraries across the U.S. has 518 cases for 2008, and Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials (which includes the bestselling Golden Compass, which became a big-budget Hollywood film in 2007) came in second in frequency of banning attempts. Although Pullman told the Guardian newspaper, tongue-in-cheek, that he was happy to add this “honour” to his CBE, Carnegie Medal and honorary professorships, he added that, “Of course it’s a worry when anybody takes it upon themselves to dictate what people should or should not read. The power of organized religion is very strong in the U.S., and getting stronger because of the Internet.” Almost 4,000 attempts to ban books have been recorded over the past eight years, according to the ALA. Most would-be censors are parents concerned about their children’s reading or members of religious groups. The most common complaint is against books with explicit sexual content, offensive language or, as in Pullman’s case, anti-religious themes. In recent years, the ALA has spotted a growing intolerance towards children’s books that deal with homosexuality—as mayor of the Alaska town of Wasilla a decade ago, Sarah Palin tried to have Daddy’s Roommate, a tale about a gay father, removed from the town library. Three of the top 10 most challenged books in 2008 had gay or lesbian characters, including No. 1 on the list, And Tango Makes Three.

The Guardian

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