Controversy Report: Philip Pullman and The Golden Compass
It all began with a little email that went like this:
THE GOLDEN COMPASS, a new movie targeted at children, will be released December 7, 2007. This movie is based on a the first book of a trilogy by atheist Philip Pullman. In the final book a boy and girl kill God so they can do as they please. Pullman left little doubt about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that ‘My books are about killing God.’
The movie is a watered down version of the first book and is designed to be very attractive in the hope unsuspecting parents will take their children to see the the movie and that the children will want the books for Christmas.
The movie has a well known cast, including Nicole Kidman, Kevin Bacon, and Sam Elliott. It will probably be advertised extensively, so it is crucial that we get the word out to warn parents to avoid this movie.
You can research this for yourself. Start with this article on Snopes.com, then go to Google.
Yikes. This sort of message was tailor made to drum up some good ole’ fashioned book backlash. Indeed it has. The message has been forwarded to all corners of the country, and a number of religious groups have already made their disapproval known. I’m part of a school librarians listserve (fancy name for email list), and my inbox has nearly caught fire with everyone weighing in. At the end of August, The Golden Compass was selected for inclusion in Al’s Book Club for Kids, adding fuel to the fire of those who disagree with the book’s content. Pullman defends his book in this interview. Interesting, to say the least.
(Thanks to Karen for the email)
Filed under: Cover Curiosity
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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