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article image"Golden Compass" yanked from Catholic school libraries

By Mike Simmons     Dec 6, 2007 in Entertainment
Catholic students in Calgary will have to trek to the movie theatre if they want to experience a long-published fantasy story this year.
The Catholic school board of Calgary has yanked Philip Pullman's book The Golden Compass off library shelves.
The board plans to review whether the book should be allowed in schools after parents complained about the book's content.
Parental concerns apparently stem from the book's portrayal of organized religion as a negative influence on society, and Pullman's admitted atheistic stance.
The Golden Compass will not be available to students in Calgary Catholic school libraries until a review has been completed of the book by a committee of religious experts and school officials. The review process is predicted to take several weeks.
The Golden Compass, first book in Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, was voted one of the best children's books in 70 years in a national poll earlier this year. Pullman's books have been available in Calgary Catholic school libraries for the past 10 years without registered complaint.
The book was removed from library shelves last month by the Halton Catholic school board of Ontario, and more recently by the Durham and Dufferin-Peel Catholic school boards in that province. The Dufferin-Peel Catholic school board previously removed David Guterson's award winning novel Snow Falling On Cedars for a similar review, after parental complaints about sexual content.
Other well-known authors to face similar treatment in Canada are R.L. Stine, Margaret Laurence, and J.K. Rowling.
Calgary Catholic school board officials stressed that the book was not being banned, only taken off the shelves for temporary review. There was no word on an exact date when The Golden Compass would be available to students once again.
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