The Children’s Book Blog Christmas Countdown: Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
For December I’ve decided to turn the children’s book blog into a sort of literary advent calendar. Every day of the month I’ll be posting a short recommendation of a wintry or Christmassy children’s book to warm your cockles or, in some cases, chill the blood. There’ll be something for readers of all ages, from picture books all the way up to YA. My choice for December 2nd is Philip Pullman’s ‘Northern Lights’.
This is my absolute favourite story in the His Dark Materials trilogy, and it’s largely because it features a thrilling journey across the frozen north – albeit an imaginary, alternate version of it.
It’s in this book that we’re first introduced to silver-tongued pre-teen, Lyra Belacqua, who is ripped from her familiar life at Jordan College, Oxford (also an alternate version thereof) and goes in search of her missing friend, Roger, and her imprisoned, so-called uncle Lord Asriel. On the way she encounters witches, armoured bears and a mysterious substance known as ‘Dust’, the discovery of which is about to tear her world – and perhaps a few others – apart.
Say what you will about the religious overtones of Pullman’s books, but there can be no denying that the man knows how to write a cracking adventure and, for that matter, a cracking female protagonist – something I often wish there were more of.
Check back tomorrow to see which book is lurking behind the ‘calendar door’ for December 3rd and catch up on my previous recommendations here
Rebecca Davies is a journalist and children’s author. She is currently working on a Young Adult fantasy novel set in Hackney. You can follow her on Twitter as @TheStoryMonsterTagged in: children's literature, christmas 2013, christmas books, His Dark Materials, Northern Lights, Philip Pullman
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