The American Library Association's 'most challenged' books of 2008 include Khaled Hosseini's bestseller alongside perennial bêtes noires His Dark Materials and And Tango Makes Three
The bestselling and critically acclaimed title, the story of a 12-year-old Afghan and his betrayal of his best friend, includes the rape of a boy, and provoked challenges in the US over what objectors saw as sexual content and offensive language. Some objections led to the removal of the book from library shelves, while others saw it replaced with bowdlerised versions minus the offending scenes, according to the American Library Association, which compiles an annual list of the most challenged titles in the country.
Caldwell-Stone said the film of The Golden Compass, based on the first novel in Pullman's trilogy, had renewed attacks on the sequence from Catholic pressure groups. "In many cases school boards reacted precipitously and removed it – then a few weeks later they returned it to the shelves," she said.