Children are disappearing and being used in an experiment which turns them into an animal that mirrors their personalities. In this fantasy-themed book, Lyra, an orphan, must figure out why this experiment is happening and where the children are being taken. She is given an alethiometer, known as the golden compass, which will tell you the truth. It's name means "truth measure". The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman was banned because the Catholic League believed that the book "promoted atheism and attacked Christianity". It was banned in Ontario, Canada, Winchester, Kentucky, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and Alamosa, Colorado, in 2008.
This is the golden compass. It has lots of symbols that take years to decipher, but Lyra understands the symbols very well.
The cover shows Lyra on her her polar bear friend, Iorek Byrinson, who can talk and is helping her with her quest.