Bridge to Terabithia

by Katherine Paterson

Other authorsDonna Diamond (Illustrator)
Paperback, 1977


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Call number

J Pa


HarperCollins (2017), 144 pages


The life of a ten-year-old boy in rural Virginia expands when he becomes friends with a newcomer who subsequently meets an untimely death trying to reach their hideaway, Terabithia, during a storm.

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Media reviews

Children's Literature
Valerie O. Patterson (Children's Literature) Jesse Oliver Aarons, Jr. practices all summer so that he can be the fastest runner in his rural Virginia fifth-grade class. Despite his practice, however, he loses the race on the first day of school to Leslie Burke, the new girl in school whose hippy
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parents have moved from Washington, DC. Despite Jesse’s lost running dream, he becomes fast friends with Leslie. Together they build the imaginary kingdom of Terabitia in the woods. To Jesse, Leslie is “more than his friend. She was his other more exciting self--his way to Terabithia and all the worlds beyond.” When Jesse’s favorite teacher takes him to see the art museums in Washington one rainy day, he returns home to find his world permanently changed by tragedy--Leslie’s death. Despite his heartache, Jesse moves forward, a stronger and more whole individual for his friendship with Leslie. Written by the author for her then young son whose best friend was killed by lightning, this Newbery Medal winner moves the heart and spirit with its beautiful writing, wrenching honesty, and hopeful ending. 2005 (orig. 1977), HarperCollins, $5.99. Ages 9 to 12.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member Whisper1
A timeless coming of age classic regarding the bonds of friendship, love, and family with a sad reminder that the things that bring joy can in equal measure bring pain.

Jess and Leslie are two fifth graders who navigate through the cruel quagmire of unkind peers.

Together, they form a wonderful
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friendship as Jess possesses the gift of drawing and Leslie weaves magic with words and imagination. Escaping to a make believe world of Terabithia, they create a safe space where pain is left behind and nature heals. To obtain entrance to Terabithia, the two must swing out over a gully/ravine on a rope.

Tragically, Leslie's life ends as one day, alone, she attempts to cross to the other side and the rope breaks.

Building a bridge to Terabithia is Jess' way of coping with the loneliness and grief.
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LibraryThing member Phantasma
I was forced to read this book when I was a rising fourth grader. I remember crying so hard that tears gathered between my collar bones and poured down my chest. I would never, ever have a child of mine read this. I cried for DAYS. I guess some children can handle it, but I couldn't and I see no
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reason to continue to force young children to read it. I suppose it must have been well written if it gripped me so hard, but that's small comfort.
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LibraryThing member whitnihatfield
This book is about Jesse Aarons and Leslie Burke. It all starts when Leslie moves in next to Jess's house. He had been working all summer on becoming the fastest fifth grader, and then Leslie comes along and she beats everyone. He finds himself becoming very good friends with Leslie and she teaches
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him about different books. Leslie and Jess make their own world in the woods next to their house. They call it Terabithia. You must cross the creek on a rope to enter the wonderful world of Terabithia where Jess and Leslie are king and queen. Leslie teaches Jess about the wonders of the world and she inspires him to learn more around him. When a tragedy happens, Jess realizes how much courage Leslie really had.

This was such a good read. I read it in one day. I loved the language and descriptions. When Leslie passes away, I was crying my head off. It was such a neat book about friendship and about why people are the way they are. It was about differences coming together to make something great. It was so good. I loved this book. I can't wait to see the movie now!

I don't know if I would acutally use this book in my class. There are some cuss words and I don't know how parents would react to me reading this book aloud. Although, I could skip some of the words to use the book. I think this would be a good book to talk about hardships and have the students talk about something hard they have had to go through and compare it to the story and how Jess handles his hardships. I think it would be good to go through this type of book to help students who are having difficulty fitting in or adjusting to something different.
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LibraryThing member HeatherWigginton
Jess and Leslie are best friends, but not at first. Leslie is not like most girls, she has short hair, doesn't wear dresses and continually beats the boys at the races during recess. After the first week of school, Jess becomes aware that disliking Leslie is silly and their friendship begins.
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Leslie and Jess discover a land called Terabithia, which they have to cross a dry creek by swinging on a rope. Throughout the year they spend most of their afternoons in Terabithia, fighting off their enemies and ruling the country as king and queen. One day, near the end of the school year, Leslie goes to Terabithia alone when the creek is over-flooded, falls in the creek and dies. Jess is devastated. For a long time he waits for Leslie to show up as if it never happened. In the end, Jess goes to lay a wreath in Terabithia in Leslie's honor. Jess's sister Maybell follows him and almost falls into the over-flooded creek. Together they build a bridge and Jess invites Maybell into the magic that is Terabithia.
This book would be a great introduction for 5th graders into fantasy, especially classic fantasy that is mentioned. Although the death of such a young character could come as a shock to such a young audience, exposure to such literature is important for students before they enter higher grades.
I loved this book and couldn't believe that I had never read it before. I cried at the end and was sincerely touched by the raw emotions from Jess. Paterson did such a good job bringing this story to life. Even though I expected Terabithia to become a place just like Narnia, I am very pleased that it didn't. This story is incredibly powerful and I would recommend this to any 5th or 6th grader.
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LibraryThing member bubba12
I really like fantasy books and this one was perfect.
LibraryThing member lindsaygits1
This is a book every child should read. The immagination of Leslie and Jess makes there fariy tale world seem true. crossing the rop swing they are transformed in to kings and queens where at school they are picked on. The death of a friend is helpful to any child becuase they can learn how to deal
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with loss though these charactes. This was my favorite story as a young reader, and still to this day it is held special in my heart.
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LibraryThing member Jfranklin592262
One my favorite childhood books. My 4th grade teacher used to read to us after lunch everyday and this was a book she read to us. It kept me riveted, I couldn't wait for reading time everyday. I would scarf my food down, in anticipation of hearing more of this story. I bought this book at our next
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book fair at school. It was one of my prized possessions and I reread it multiple times as throughout the rest of my childhood.

Fast forward several years, I was ecstatic when I saw the trailer to the movie. I bought it the minute it was released. I have 5 children and they all love it. I have also recommended this book throughout the years to multiple friends and family members for their children. We still own the movie and multiple copies of the book. I still think it is one of the best children's books of all times.

Touching on some of the negatives in reviews....yes, it does include dysfunctional family content, poverty, bullies, and childhood death. These things are reality. You can't trap your children in a bubble, they should be exposed to real life and literature is one of the best ways to do so.

IMO, this book should be on every child's bookshelf!
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LibraryThing member SirRoger
One of my all-time favorite kids' books, even though I never read it in my youth. The story is beautiful and inspiring, and every time I read it I cry. A lot. Recommended for everyone.
LibraryThing member bonesteeldavid
Jess Aarons, who wants to be the fastest boy in the 5th grade and doesn't get along very well with his family, befriends the new girl at school, Leslie Burke. Among his schoolmates, only Leslie appreciates Jess's artistic temperament, and the two soul mates become inseperable, spending long hours
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together and creating their own imaginary kingdom--until tragedy strikes unexpectedly.

Katherine Paterson's novel, simply but effectively written, provides an opportunity to consider and discuss issues such as the nature of friendship, the meaning of death, and the importance of acceptance. I thought Paterson stumbled at one point by having a teacher act in an unprofessional, implausible manner, but the resulting development was so powerful that my objection was soon forgotten.
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LibraryThing member Charitas
Jess Aaron's biggest ambition is that he wants to be the fastest runner in the 5th grade. After practicing all summer long he can't wait to go to school and beat all of his classmates but due to a new kid who happens to be a girl he was not the fastest. Jess and the new girl Leslie still became
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best friends. Together they created with their big imaginations created a magical kingdom called Terabithia where they are the king and queen.

Such a great book. Opens up your imagination to think and believe the unbelievable.

For a classroom extension, students could use their imaginations to create a picture of their magical kingdom using paper mache.
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LibraryThing member MillieHennessy

Disclaimer: I’ve never seen the movie, but I was aware of the most significant plot point going in to this book. I still think the book is incredibly emotional and powerful, so even if you’ve seen the movie or you know the plot, I think you should read this book.

Also, from what I
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can tell from movie trailers (I’ve no desire to watch the movie), there’s a big fantasy element in there that really isn’t found in the book. Yes, Jess and Leslie create a magical world named Terabithia and they go there to hang out, but this isn’t a fantasy novel. If you’re looking for middle-grade fantasy, Terabithia is not the place to find it.

It is, however, the place to find FEELS.

Jess is the sort of kid that you feel for, even before his blossoming friendship with Leslie. He can’t seem to catch a break, but he doesn’t let himself get too down about it. He has a semi-secret passion for drawing – his father would see it as weak and his classmates at school would tease him, but he continues to draw and imagine what he would draw despite all that. Leslie has pluck and she’s incredibly intelligent and does a little gender-bending given that the book is set in the 1970s.

There are not a lot of pages in this book, so I feel a little constrained in regards to what I say because really you should just read this book (AND FEEL THE FEELS) for yourself, if you haven’t yet. I don’t know why I didn’t pick it up sooner, honestly. This is easily one of my top middle-grade books and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a contemporary tale of friendship and loss. Also, my cover is gorgeous.
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LibraryThing member debnance
Poor Jess is pressured everywhere, to find his place at home, at school. Then he meets Leslie and she changes his life. Leslie is able to deal with the pressures of the real world (cruel kids, competition) and is also able to find great joy in the world of the imagination. Ironically, it is on her
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way into that imaginary world, while she is swinging across a raging river, that Leslie’s rope breaks and she is killed. Instead of being filled with sorrow, however, Jess takes everything Leslie has given him and uses it to help himself and to teach others.
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LibraryThing member LeHack
I didn't see the movie - but the book is a good adventure about life, books and friends. Recommend.
LibraryThing member rl11
It was a story about a girl named Leslie and a boy named Jesse and they go into the woods and found a treehouse. then, at the end, Leslie dies in the river.
LibraryThing member slightlyfan
This is a good story with simple characters. I really liked Jess and Leslies friendship and how they made up their own world. It has a lot of immagination and heart.

I won't give away the ending, but it was a little apparent. I figured it out nearly half was through the book. I won't hold taht
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against it because it is a kids book.
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LibraryThing member olyra
this book is an amazing tale of two kids, and their profound relationship. it is so sad..another book i cried for, and reread. i have low hopes for the film. im not sure i even want to see it.
LibraryThing member roxanacaivano
I did not know the story, and was expecting what I saw in the movie trailers. It's not was I got. I didn't know it was going to be sad, and sobbed my eyes out. I read it in one day
LibraryThing member benfulton
I'm probably underrating it, but this is exactly the kind of book I can't bear...I had a goal as a kid of reading every single one of the Newbery winners - a task much easier then, I might say - but after coming across a few like Johnny Tremaine I gave it up. Books with a hard realistic edge and
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lots of painful or embarassing situations are just not for me - give me a rocket ship or elves any day!
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LibraryThing member bribre01
I read this book when I was in the 6th grade for my Language Arts class and loved it. I remember relating to Leslie a lot, because I wrote a lot at that time in my life and my work was always picked to be read in class. Because of this, I was teased often, and didn't have a lot of friends in my
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middle school years. I kind of forgot about how sad the book was until I went to see the movie with my boyfriend and slowly started to remember what was going to happen...I ended up sobbing almost the entire movie...I also remember laying down on my bed in 6th grade balling like a baby when Leslie drowned. Its a fantastic book for anyone, not just YAs.
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LibraryThing member JLShunk
This is one of my favorite childrens book.

I keep tissues handy when I read it. It's a quick read.
LibraryThing member lmeek04
Whether children relate to losing a close friend or not, most children have friends they consider close enough to be hurtful if they ever lost that friend, especially the older children get. This would be a good book for a 4th or 5th grade class. The content of the book is not as meaningful at
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grade levels much younger than 4th grade. The content of the book requires the reader to consider the value of real friendship, as well as taking into account the fact that life should be lived like there is no tomorrow. Human beings are not invincible!
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LibraryThing member ladycobra14
“Arise, king of Terabithia.” It was Leslie’s idea to create a magical land called Terabithia. Jess needs to find a place where he can fit in and be himself. With the help of Leslie, in Terabithia this is exactly what he can do. Then a tragedy strikes and Jess has to help himself out more than
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In this book, Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson creates a whole new world for Jess, Leslie, and her readers. I would rate this book a 9 ½ out of 10. It would have been a 10 if Katherine Paterson had given a little more detail about Jess and Leslie’s personalities. One good thing about this book is that the author is very good at placing hidden meanings throughout this book. Read this book, and you’ll have fun trying to find out the hidden meanings and more when you read Bridge to Terabithia.
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LibraryThing member LAteacher
I selected this book because it is a very emotional book and it is very special because it is the first English book I read and it made me cry. It is about a boy named Jesse who meets a girl named Leslie and they create an imaginery kingdom called Terabithia. I think kids who like adventure books
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or emotional books will like this book.
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LibraryThing member Omrythea
A classic book that tugs on your heartstrings and makes you weep.
LibraryThing member madhamster
Jess and Leslie are neighbours and best friends. Leslie decides to create an imaginary world, Terabithia, in which she is Queen and Jess is King. On the one day Jess is not with her Leslie drowns on the way to Terabithia. Jess's grief shows itself in anger, mainly at Leslie for leaving him. Jess's
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recovery begins when he introduces his younger sister, May Belle, into Terabithia.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

144 p.; 7.62 inches




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