There's something about Harry Potter that has been labeled "anti-Christian." Although Kris Moran, director of publicity at Scholastic, the series' U.S. publisher, said, "We're not aware of anything negative," the rumblings are just starting to be heard elsewhere.

In the past two weeks, Beverley Becker, associate director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, has gotten word of three challenges to the popular J.K. Rowling series, in Michigan, Minnesota and New York. "I've also talked to a couple of librarians," she said, "who are concerned about the books being challenged because of witchcraft [elements in the plot]."

For Charles Suhor of the National Council of Teachers of English, it comes as no surprise that some parents might want books about the students at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry banned. Objections used to come from parents concerned about "a Communist plot to take over the schools. Now it's Satan himself and insidious New Age satanism." Although Suhor hasn't received any calls on Harry yet, that's not unusual, either.

"Actually, we've had a slight diminishing of censorship calls," he remarked, a situation he d sn't necessarily regard as healthy. Instead, Suhor hypothesizes that the drop-off in protests, from a high of 740 in 1995 to 478 in 1998, may actually be due to self-censorship on the part of teachers and librarians.