Overview from Barnes and Noble:
Jess Aaron's greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. He's been practicing all summer and can't wait to see his classmates' faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new kid, a new girl, boldly crosses over to the boy's side of the playground and outruns everyone.
That's not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. It doesn't matter to Jess that Leslie dresses funny, or that her family has a lot of money — but no TV. Leslie has imagination. Together, she and Jess create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits. Then one morning a terrible tragedy occurs. Only when Jess is able to come to grips with this tragedy does he finally understand the strength and courage Leslie has given him.
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.
Part of me cannot understand why Barnes and Noble would have the fact that Leslie dies as part of their overview. I hate when really powerful parts of books are given away in a book synopsis, book trailer or review without at least a spoiler notice. That said, I doubt there are all that many adults who haven't already read this book so most of us already know. I must admit that while listening to this audio book I did not cry when Leslie's death occurs. Even as an adult this part usually makes me cry, I think I have less of an emotional investment in audio books that ones I read on the page. It has been a number of years since the last time I read it. I decided to listen to it because my son is reading it at school with his class. I had considered listening to this one with my children a number of times and I have always had such an emotional response to her death that I wasn't sure if it would be a good idea.
At the end of the book there is an interview with the author and her son. Having never looked into learning more about Paterson I had not known that she took events from her own life to create this book. Her son's best friend, Lisa, to whom the book is dedicated, died as a child and this is part of how she worked through her feelings about the loss. I am sorry now that I shyed away from this as a shared audio book with my children, I think that
- ISBN-13: 9780064401845
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date: 6/1/1987
- Series: A Trophy Bk.
- Edition description: Reissue
- Edition number: 25
- Pages: 176
Meet the Author
Katherine Paterson was born in China, where she spent part of her childhood. After her education in China and the American South, she spent four years in Japan, the setting for her first three novels. Ms. Paterson has received numerous awards for her writing, including National Book Awards for The Master Puppeteer and The Great Gilly Hopkins, as well as Newbery Medals for Jacob Have I Loved and Bridge to Terabithia. Ms. Paterson lives with her husband in Vermont. They have four grown children.