Surprisingly, this was my first time reading Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. I honestly didn’t know what it was about going into it. All I knew was that my cousin‘s class read it and there was a lot of crying involved. I figured if 10-year-olds cried while reading this novel, I was doomed to do the same.
Jesse Aarons is a fifth grader, the only boy among 4 sisters, and training to be the fastest person in his school. When a new girl moves into the farm next door and beats all the boys in their daily races, he decides to go with the flow and become her friend. Leslie turns out to be more than he thought he could have in a friend, as they become inseparable and Jesse feels as if he has finally found his place in the world with her.
Katherine Paterson, as evidenced in the also-wonderful Great Gilly Hopkins, knows how to write for children. She doesn’t beat around the bush about life issues, yet her way with words allows her characters to slowly melt into your heart and stay there forever. Her stories blow you away with their profound realities and insight into the world around us and how it doesn’t quite work the way we might want it to. It is authors such as her that present harsh realities to children while softly allowing them to choose which direction they might take.
by Katherine Paterson
Originally published in 1977