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Bridge to Terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia

4.4 923
by Katherine Paterson, Donna Diamond (Illustrator)

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All summer, Jess pushed himself to be the fastest boy in the fifth grade, and when the year's first school-yard race was run, he was going to win. But his victory was stolen by a newcomer, by a girl, one who didn't even know enough to stay on the girls' side of the playground. Then, unexpectedly, Jess finds himself sticking up for Leslie, for the girl who breaks rules


All summer, Jess pushed himself to be the fastest boy in the fifth grade, and when the year's first school-yard race was run, he was going to win. But his victory was stolen by a newcomer, by a girl, one who didn't even know enough to stay on the girls' side of the playground. Then, unexpectedly, Jess finds himself sticking up for Leslie, for the girl who breaks rules and wins races. The friendship between the two grows as Jess guides the city girl through the pitfalls of life in their small, rural town, and Leslie draws him into the world of imagination-a world of magic and ceremony called Terabithia. Here, Leslie and Jess rule supreme among the oaks and evergreens, safe from the bullies and ridicule of the mundane world. Safe until an unforeseen tragedy forces Jess to reign in Terabithia alone, and both worlds are forever changed.

In this poignant, beautifully rendered novel, Katherine Paterson weaves a powerful story of friendship and courage.

Editorial Reviews

This paperback isn't just a movie tie-in; it's a reprint of a superb Newbery Medal-winning novel. Bridge to Terabithia records the blossoming of the unlikely friendship between Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke and its tragic aftermath. Katherine Patterson's graceful intertwining of fantasy and realistic psychology has touched readers ever since the book's 1977 release.
Publishers Weekly
Just like their print partners, audiobook publishers have movie tie-in fever. Moviegoers/listeners can catch unabridged recordings of the popular tales that inspired current (or soon-to-be-released) family flicks Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, read by the author; Eragon by Christopher Paolini, read by Gerard Doyle; Beatrix Potter Favorite Tales: The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemimah Puddle-Duck Read Along Book & CD read by Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor; and Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, read by Robert Sean Leonard (film scheduled for February 16, 2007, release). All recordings but Peter Rabbit have been previously released, and all four of these selections feature packaging that showcases artwork from their respective films. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Paterson's Newbery-winning novel becomes an entertaining and dramatic audiobook via Leonard's accomplished reading. Jess Aarons is eager to start fifth grade. He's been practicing his sprints all summer, determined to become the fastest runner at school. All seems to be on track, until the new girl in class (who also happens to be Jess's new next-door neighbor), Leslie Burke, leaves all the boys in the dust, including Jess. After this rather frustrating introduction, Jess and Leslie soon become inseparable. Together, they create an imaginary, secret kingdom in the woods called Terabithia that can be reached only by swinging across a creek bed on a rope. But one morning a tragic accident befalls Leslie as she ventures alone to Terabithia, and Jess's life is changed forever. Leonard deftly interprets the strands of humor, realism and heart-wrenching emotion woven into Paterson's fine tale. His careful and authentic handling of Jess's anger and grief in the aftermath of the accident is sure to touch listeners. Contemporary instrumental interludes featuring guitar, piano and drums signal the beginning and end of each tape side. Ages 9-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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 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, Ages 9 to 12.
—Valerie O. Patterson
School Library Journal
Jesse's colorless rural world expands when he becomes fast friends with Leslie, the new girl in school. But when Leslie drowns trying to reach their special hideaway, Terabithia, Jesse struggles to accept the loss of his friend. A Newbery Medal winner. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
The Horn Book
“Set in contemporary rural America, the story is one of remarkable richness and depth, beautifully written.”
15 Banned Books Every Tween and Teen Should Read

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.65(d)
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Bridge to Terabithia MSR

Chapter One

Jesse Oliver Aarons, Yr.

Ba-room, ba-room, ba-room, baripity, baripity, baripity, baripity—Good. His dad had the pickup going. He could get up now. Jess slid out of bed and into his overalls. He didn't worry about a shirt because once he began running he would be hot as popping grease even if the morning air was chill, or shoes because the, bottoms of his feet were by now as tough as his worn-out sneakers.

ere you going, Jess?" May Belle lifted herself up sleepily from the double bed where she and Joyce Ann slept.

"Sh." He warned. The walls were thin. Momma would be mad as flies in a fruit jar if they woke her up this time of day.

He patted May Belle's hair and yanked the twisted sheet up to her small chin. "Just over the cow field," he whispered. May Belle smiled and snuggled down under the- sheet.

"Gonna run?"


Of course he was going to run. He had. gotten up early every day all summer to run. He figured if he worked at itand Lord, had he worked-he could be- the fastest runner in the fifth grade when school opened up. He had to be the fastest-not one of the fastest or next to the fastest, but the fastest. The very best.

He tiptoed out of the house. The place was so rattly that it screeched whenever you put your foot down, but Jess had found that if you tiptoed, it gave only a low moan, and he could usually get outdoors without waking Momma or Ellie or Brenda or Joyce Ann. May Belle was another matter. She was going on seven, and she worshiped him, which was OK sometimes. When you were the only boy smashed between four sisters, and theolder two had despised you ever since you stopped letting them dress you up and wheel you around in their rusty old doll carriage, and the littlest one.cried if you looked at ther cross-eyed, it was nice to have somebody who worshiped you. Even if it got unhandy sometimes.

He began to trot across the yard. His breath, was coming out in little puffs—cold for August. But it was early yet. By noontime when his mom would have him out working, it would be hot enough.

Miss Bessie stared at him sleepily as he climbed across the scrap heap, over the fence, and into the cow field. "Moo—oo," she said, looking for all the world like another May Belle with her big, brown droopy eyes.

"Hey, Miss Bessie," Jess said soothingly. "Just go on back to sleep."

Miss Bessie strolled over to a greenish patch-most of the field was brown and dry-and yanked up a mouthful.

"That'a girl. Just eat your breakfast. Don't pay me no mind."

He always started at the northwest comer of the field, crouched over like the runners he had seen on Wide World of Sports.

"Bang," he said, and took off flying around the cow field. Miss Bessie strolled toward the center, still following him with her droopy eyes, chewing slowly. She didn't look very smart, even for a cow, but she was plenty bright enough to get out of Jess's way.

His straw-colored hair flapped hard against his forehead, and his arms and legs flew out every which way. He had never learned to run properly, but he was long-legged for a tenyear-old, and no one had more grit than he.

Lark Creek Elementary was short on everything, especially athletic equipment, so all the balls went to the upper grades at recess time after lunch. Even if a fifth grader started out the period with a ball, it was sure to be in the hands of a sixth or seventh grader before the hour was half over. The older boys always took the dry center of the upper field for

their ball games, while the girls claimed the small top section for hopscotch and jump rope and hanging around talking. So the lower-grade boys had started this running thing. They would all line up on the far side of the lower field, where it was either muddy or deep crusty ruts. Earle Watson who was no good at running, but had, a big mouth, would yell "Bang!" and they'd race to a line they'd- toed across at the other end.

One time last year Jesse had won. Not just I the first heat but the whole shebang. Only once. But it had put into his mouth a. taste for winning. Ever since he'd been in first grade he'd been that "crazy little kid that draws all the time." But one day—April the twenty-second, a drizzly Monday, it had been-he ran ahead of them all, the red mud slooching up through the holes in the bottom of his sneakers..

For the rest of that day, and until after lunch on the next, he had been "the fastest kid in- the third, fourth, and fifth grades," and he only a fourth grader. On Tuesday, Wayne Pettis had won again as usual.. But this year Wayne Pettis would be in the sixth grade. He'd play football until Christmas and baseball until June with the rest of the big guys. Anybody had a chance to be the fastest runner and by, Miss Bessie, this year it was going to be Jesse Oliver Aarons, Jr.

Jess pumped his arms harder and bent his head for thedistant fence. He could hear the third-grade boys screaminghim on. They would follow him around like a country-musicstar. And May Belle would pop her buttons. Her brother wasthe fastest, the best. That ought to give the rest of the firstgrade de something to chew their cuds on.

Even his dad would be proud. Jess rounded the corner. He couldn't keep going quite so fast, but he continued running for a while—it would, build him up.

Bridge to Terabithia MSR. Copyright © by Katherine Paterson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Katherine Paterson is one of the world’s most celebrated and beloved authors. Among her many awards are two Newberys and two National Book Awards, and she was recently named a "Living Legend” by the Library of Congress. She has been published in more than 22 languages in a variety of formats, from picture books to historical novels.

Donna Diamond has illustrated numerous children's books, including The Day of the Unicorn by Mollie Hunter and Riches by Esther Hautzig, as well as many book jackets. She lives in Riverdale, NY.

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Bridge to Terabithia 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 923 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We purchased this on my nook for my 13 yr old son because he wanted to use it for a book report. He had seen the movie a few years ago and thought he might like the book as well. He read it in just a few days and after finishing it he commented that it was one of the best books he's read in a long time (and he reads a lot of books). Honestly I was a little surprised; I hadn't actually expected that strong of a response. When I asked him more about it, he said that he felt the author was so descriptive and really painted the scenery so well with words. He felt like he was able to really follow along in his imagination. He also said that - like most other books that are made into movies - he liked the book much better than the movie. Overall, we were very pleased with the purchase, and will probably read this in the future with our other kids as well.
Dacota_WV More than 1 year ago
Book Review Outline Dacota B., WV Book title and author: Bridge to Terabithia by: Katherine Peterson Title of review: A Very Well Written Book Number of stars (1 to 5): 5 This a book that is about two friends who lets their imagination go wild, in a secret land. I think the author's main point is that to let your own imagination Without getting hurt in the process. Jess Aarons is a boy who's biggest ambition in life is to be the fastest runner than the whole 5'th grade. Then Leslie, a new student to the school, beets all the boys on their own field in races, and this is where Leslie and Jess meet. Throughout the book Jess and Leslie create this kingdom of magic which is a rope's swing across the creek. Here in this kingdom Jess and Leslie let their own imagination go wild which is why this kingdom is so magical. I think this book achieves its goals by a very vibrantly written story that brings you through a great friendship that last throughout the story. I hope my review will make you anxious to read this very interesting book. Thanks for reading my review of Bridge to Terabithia.
josh21 More than 1 year ago
I higly recommend this book Bride to Tarabithia to all readers who have wild immaginations. This book that I am reviewing is Bridge to Tarabithia is has a great story behind the covers. The Story tells you that you can put your mind into anything and it can happen. The Genre is for all ages its easy to read and easy to understand. The story takes place at Lark Creek Elemenatry and Tarabethia. All the action takes place in Tarabithia even when a tragidy happens can Jess step us as king and rule the tarabithians. when they made their own country Leslie became the queen and Jess became the King, they ruled with each other with companionship. The story fulfills the purpose because it tells us if we put our minds in work any thing is possible I agree. The Main Characters are Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke they go to the same school and the founders of tarabethia. I recommend this book to everyone read the book first then watch the movie
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have fond memories of reading this book as a child-I still vividly remember crying hysterically on my bed. Now as an adult, and a teacher- it still remains one of my favorites...and still makes me cry hysterically. It is a beautiful and POWERFUL story of friendship,imagination, the longing to be accepted, courage, and healing. One note- be aware of the discussion in the book between the young characters that child abuse should be kept a 'family secret' and stress with readers the importance on NOT keeping it a secret.
Braylin_W_WV More than 1 year ago
Bridge to Terabithia is a novel about a boy and his family. One day a girl and her family moved into the house beside Jess. Jess hated her at the beginning of the story because she beat him at the races at school. Then one day they became friends. Jess was not expecting to come home and see his whole family sitting in the living room crying. They all thought that something bad had happened to him. But he had went with his teacher to a museum. When Jess stepped in the door his father was there to tell him what had happened to his friend. Jess did not believe him at first tell he went to the neighbors house to find that it was true, his friend had died. When Jess and Leslie became friends they make up a place called Terabithia. They go there everyday when they get off the bus. One day Jess goes to a museum with his teacher and did not ask Leslie if she wanted to go. When he got home he found that something bad happened to one of his friends. I think the story is good. It teaches you a good listen not to bully people. Because in the story a bully does something to Leslie and Jess, so they make a note and said it was from someone that she liked. The bully believed them and she didn't bully them again!!
5thgradestudents More than 1 year ago
Bridge to Terabithia was the best book I've read. This book was the best because there is a lot of imagination you could escape to. When I read this book by Katherine Paterson, I knew she was a good author because she really describes the characters Jess and Leslie. When Jess met Leslie he was shocked because she was the first person he trusted. Their friendship was the best, but then the unthinkable happens. You should read this book to learn about Jess and Leslie's friendship. When you read this book you are going to hate Ellie and Brenda but love MayBelle . Maybelle is Jess's smallest sister, but you are going to be shocked when you hear about what MayBelle did. She did something really horrible. Terabithia was the secret place Jess and Leslie built. I recommend this to somebody who likes imagination and adventure. I also recommend this for teachers to read to their class.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the book Bridge to Terabithia there is a friendship and a death. There are bullies and people who are just full of themselves. This book is so cool. I enjoyed it. And I think you would enjoy it too. Bridge to Terabithia is about a boy and a girl who become friends. They also make up a secret place that they use their imagination. And have all kinds of different animals. It's like a magical world that no one knows about but them. I love this book because it is so outgoing. And it makes me feel like I'm in the book. The other reason I like this book is because it has a lot of action in it and it is creative. I also think that the way they use their imaginations in this magical world called Terabithia! Some people think and say that it is dumb and it don't make since and that it is boring. I don't think it's boring, because it's just awesome!
Kacie_d_wv More than 1 year ago
Jess Aarons isn't always understood in his family. When his new neighbor moves in, everything changes. Her name is Lesile Burke. Leslie and Jess at first are basically strangers. After a while they become friends, as they break through challenges. Beyond some fields there is a small creek. Not too high above is an old rope. They imagine that after you swing on the rope onto the other side of the creek that you are in their magical land they call Terabithia. They work together and build forts (castles) and explore their kingdom, walking as the king and queen of Terabithia. The challenges at school come to life in Terabithia, as they face them in both places. Both of them work together to face them all, they truly were best friends. As the challenges get bigger, they get stronger. In the end the two of them come across their biggest problem yet, which turns into a struggle not everyone can face as Jess has to get all the help he can get. As his family actually listens and helps.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very good book, I really enjoyed it. I would recommend this to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book makes you cry and laugh. When Leslie is first introduced you aren't sure about her, but then you get to know her. I also loved May Belle. But Jesse, really gives the story life. He doesn't think he has guts, but it takes lots of them to stick up for the new kid. The pain he must have felt at the loss of Leslie I can relate to, my grandmother died when I was yong. It takes guts to handle all the things he had to. But I think having the guts to do that earns him the title of King.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story of two friends getting togather to use their imagination. I cannot tell you more or that will spoil the book but it is certainly a really good movie to but it describes more in the book
Chrissy_W More than 1 year ago
Did I enjoy this book: This was a decent read, a quick read, a sad read. Not at all what I was expecting.  Going in to this book, I was expecting more of a fantasy angle. More magical kingdom in the woods. At one point, I had to go back and reread part of it because I thought I was missing something. What I got out of this book was something very reminiscent of the movie My Girl, which obviously came after Bridge to Terabithia. However, the story was one of strength and where we find it. It is a coming of age story but not really about lost innocence. I think Jess’s reactions at the end were pretty spot on for an 11 year old boy. Speaking of the end, I thought it was sweet. I liked the changed dynamics. I enjoyed the very end. As for the characters, all were well-written. Jess wants to be good at something besides art. He is a very talented artist but that isn’t something that is smiled upon by his family. I think he just really wants to be accepted by his father. Leslie doesn’t quite fit in but she is very intelligent. She likes to push the boundaries a bit. I really liked Jess’s father but not until Christmas and the ending. The sisters were sisters. Each played their role. Would I recommend it: Sure. Will I read it again: I will not unless my  kids read it in the future and I want to refresh my memory of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book 5 star rating. You should read it too. A very heart touching book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this book back in fourth grade and I still love it! Its a really good story about friendship.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liked it it was fun:-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has ups and downs. I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I finished reading this book and discussing it. I believe this is the best book i ever read. The tragedy at the end is not to ruin the book. No, not at all. It only adds to the specialness and rare greatness of the book. Terabithia, Jess and Leslie's special place across the creek, is a wonderful place of chilhood fun and imagination. A tear jerker, yes, but if you read it through and THINK about it, I'm sure it will be the best book you ever read too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I luv the book so much i have it on auto book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw the movie but i have not finished the book yet but it is a really good book and you should get it if you are looking at this review right now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw a book trailer for this today then read it and i loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont know how you hate iy i have read three times and it rocks! Also when i was in grade five my teacher first read it than had us watch the movie! So what you talking about :p
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Actully I' m still reading the book for school and I think the author has done a beautiful job writing it plus the movie was brilliant
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book! Very interesting kids.Good book for ages (10-12).What a horrible tragedy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was hard to get in to but it a really good book!!! :)