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Bridge to Terabithia



  • Title: Bridge to Terabithia
  • Author: Katherine Paterson
  • Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Children's Literature, Fantasy, Classics
  • Published: 1977
  • ISBN: 9780064401845


"Bridge to Terabithia" is a poignant novel that explores the themes of friendship, imagination, and coping with loss. Set in rural America, it centers around two fifth-graders, Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke. Jess, aspiring to be the fastest runner in his grade, encounters an unexpected challenge and companion in Leslie, the new girl in school who outruns all the boys. From this unlikely beginning, a deep friendship blossoms.


  1. Friendship: The core of the story is the bond between Jess and Leslie. Their friendship transcends social norms and expectations, showcasing a pure, accepting, and transformative relationship.
  2. Imagination and Escape: Leslie's vibrant imagination leads to the creation of Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods. This secret world becomes a sanctuary for Jess and Leslie, allowing them to escape life's challenges and express themselves freely.
  3. Coping with Loss: The novel addresses the theme of loss poignantly, highlighting the process of grief and the journey towards acceptance and healing.


  • Jess Aarons: A fifth-grader with a talent for drawing, who initially dreams of being the fastest runner in his class.
  • Leslie Burke: An imaginative and spirited new girl at school, who becomes Jess's closest friend and co-creator of Terabithia.
  • Other Characters: Include Jess's family and schoolmates, who contribute to the dynamics of Jess's life and his growth.

Plot Summary

Jess Aarons' life changes when he meets Leslie Burke. Together, they create the imaginary kingdom of Terabithia in the woods near their homes. As king and queen, they rule this magical realm, finding solace and freedom from the difficulties of their everyday lives. However, their friendship faces a tragic turn when Leslie dies in an accident. This event forces Jess to confront deep emotions and ultimately leads to personal growth and an understanding of the impact Leslie had on his life.


"Bridge to Terabithia" is a touching story that resonates with readers of all ages. It beautifully illustrates the power of friendship and imagination while dealing sensitively with the theme of loss. The narrative encourages readers to find strength in adversity and the importance of cherishing memories.

Critical Acclaim

The novel has been widely acclaimed for its emotional depth, realistic portrayal of childhood, and its handling of complex themes. It is often praised for its ability to connect with both young and adult readers.


"Bridge to Terabithia" remains a significant work in children's literature, remembered for its heartfelt storytelling and its impact on discussions about childhood, grief, and resilience.