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Pullman blasts planned book ratings

Australian actress Nicole Kidman attends the world premiere of The Golden Compass at Odeon, Leicester Square in London on November 27, 2007. (UPI Photo/Rune Hellestad)
Australian actress Nicole Kidman attends the world premiere of "The Golden Compass" at Odeon, Leicester Square in London on November 27, 2007. (UPI Photo/Rune Hellestad) | License Photo

LONDON, June 4 (UPI) -- Author Philip Pullman is protesting plans to place age-related ratings on children's books in England.

The Daily Telegraph said that, starting this fall, book covers will state whether they are intended for readers ages 5+, 7+, 9+, 11+ or 13+/teen.

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"I don't mind anybody having an opinion about my books," Pullman, the author of the "His Dark Materials" fantasy trilogy, told the newspaper. "I don't mind a bookseller deciding they are for this age group or that, or a teacher giving one of my books to a child because they think it is appropriate. But I don't want to see the book itself declaring officially, as if with my approval, that it is for readers of 11 and upwards or whatever. I write books for whoever is interested. When I write a book I don't have an age group in mind. ... The book should be suited to the individual child."

Introduced by some of England's top publishers, the guidelines have met with protest from a group of more than 80 authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers and booksellers, the Telegraph said.

An online petition at www.notoagebanding.org criticized the idea of rating books as "ill-conceived" and "damaging to the interests of young readers."

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