Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Northern Lights

Written by Philip Pullman
Part of the His Dark Materials Series

11+ readers   Carnegie Greenaway   9+ readers   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Winner of the 1995 CILIP Carnegie Medal Part one of Philip Pullman’s magnificent trilogy. His ‘Dark Materials’, is the story of Lyra, a young girl with an exceptional destiny. Brought up in Jordan College, Oxford Lyra uncovers a secret about her mysterious guardian which leads to some dangerous questioning. It also marks the beginning of Lyra’s search for her friend Roger, a search that takes her to the ice kingdoms of the North where armoured bears rule. Lyra’s courage and stubborn determination lead her on this mission of incredible danger in this brilliant and imaginative story. The author’s vivid imagination and vision is so spectacular and moving that it will leave you almost speechless with admiration and the amazingly diverse characters will be universally admired by all those who read about them. It’s completely original and totally spellbinding; a true classic that will stand the test of time much in the way Tolkien’s famous work has done. If we at Lovereading were to pick out our ‘winner of winners’ then it would be Northern Lights, the first in Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy. (12+)

Winner of the Carnegie of Carnegies in 2007 and Carnegie winner in 1995.

***Philip Pullman will talk to Nicolette Jones at a special event to mark the 20th Anniversary of the publication of His Dark Materials. In his only public appearance during the anniversary year Pullman will discuss the books, give readings and there will be clips from the Hollywood movie, The Golden Compass. Find out more and buy tickets here.


Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Without this child, we shall all die. Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world...

Northern Lights was filmed as the motion picture The Golden Compass.

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'One of the supreme literary dreamers and magicians of our time.' Guardian

'A genuine masterpiece of intelligent, imaginative storytelling.' Mail On Sunday

'One of those books which one can hardly bear to close.' Scotsman

About the Author

Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on 19th October 1946. The early part of his life was spent travelling all over the world, because his father and then his stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he first met the wonders of comics, and grew to love Superman and Batman in particular.

From the age of 11, he lived in North Wales, having moved back to Britain. After he left school he went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English. He did a number of odd jobs for a while, and then moved back to Oxford to become a teacher. He taught at various middle schools for twelve years, and then moved to Westminster College, Oxford, to be a part-time lecturer.

His first published novel was for adults, but he began writing for children when he was a teacher. Some of his novels were based on plays he wrote for his school pupils, such as The Ruby In The Smoke.

His most well-known work is the trilogy His Dark Materials, beginning with Northern Lights (The Golden Compass in the USA) in 1995, continuing with The Subtle Knife in 1997, and concluding with The Amber Spyglass in 2000. These books have been honoured by several prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Book Award, and (for The Amber Spyglass) the Whitbread Book of the Year Award - the first time in the history of that prize that it was given to a children's book.

Northern Lights won the Carnegie Medal in 1996, and ten years later it was awarded the Carnegie of Carnegies, chosen by readers from all the books that have won this medal in the 70 years since it was first awarded. In 2001 The Amber Spyglass became the first children’s book to win the overall Whitbread Award (now known as the Costa Award).

In 2002 he won the Eleanor Farjeon Award for children's literature and in 2005 jointly won the Astrid Lindgren Award with the Japanese illustrator Ryoji Arai. This is a wonderful international honour given by the Swedish government to writers, or illustrators, or others connected with bringing books to children.

Philip still lives in Oxford, and he writes in a shed at the bottom of his garden.

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448 pages


Philip Pullman
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Scholastic Press an imprint of Scholastic

Publication date

5th March 2015




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