I plowed through this a couple of years ago, adored it and therefore insisted on reading it aloud to my initially reluctant offspring now that I consider them old enough.
(After a couple of chapters, of course, their unwillingness had given way to enthralment. Good literature IS, after all, good literature!)
Admittedly, the plot can seem somewhat intricate for a ten-year-old, although Lyra's disneyesque 'daemon' alter ego not only tantalizes the kids but also allows for enlightenment and explicating.
The plot is a young girl's quest in a parallel universe, sharing a common geography with our world, taking her from the Oxford colleges up to the North Pole (= extra fun for Scandinavians).
The trilogy predates Potter by a few years, yet the two have a lot in common (otherworldly exploits of an orphan predestined for great things).
Pullman is more virulent in his criticism, particularly of the church and of parenthood. (Absent parents are a narrative necessity in books about youngsters - but downright evil mothers are few and far between in YA literature!)
My views on the film