Bridge to Terabithia
All summer, Jess Aarons has been working towards one goal: to be the fastest runner in fifth grade. Every morning, he would get up as soon as his dad left for work and run in the pasture until one day, all of this changed. A new family had moved in up the street, and the young girl that lived there met Jess on one of his runs. He hates her at first, especially when she ends up winning the race and becoming the fastest runner in fifth grade. However, these two soon form a deep friendship as they spent time in their special place: Terabithia. Jess will learn many life lessons as he enjoys this friendship and its struggles.
- Jess practices every morning to be the fastest runner in fifth grade.
- Jess draws a lot, but his drawing is not approved of by his family.
- One morning, Leslie is sitting on the fence when he is running, so he stops running. He talks a bit, but thought she was dumb, but she wants to be his friend.
- Leslie is put in his class at school, and she is different than all the other girls because of her short hair and pants.
- At recess, the boys line up for their race. Jess is in the fourth and final heat.
- During the races, Leslie comes over and wants to race. She ends up winning against all of the guys.
- Soon, there were no more races because Leslie always won.
- The fifth grade has music after recess on Fridays, and Jess talks to Miss Edmunds again, and he still is “in love” with her.
- During their singing, Jess determined that it was ok to be Leslie’s friend, and after that, everything changed.
- Leslie and Jess ride the same bus, and one day Leslie sat in the back of the bus where the seventh graders sit. Jess went to save her and ended up making fun of Janice Avery, the girl that everyone hated.
- Jess and Leslie wandered to the dry creek bed and swung across it with a rope. They decided to create a world just for them. They built a castle and called it Terabithia, and they had to always enter by the rope.
- At Terabithia, Leslie often told Jess stories, and their friendship deepened.
- They soon started spending all of their recesses together, and Jess was constantly teased about his “girl friend.”
- They continued going to Terabithia. Jess finds out that Leslie’s family is rich.
- When Jess’ little sister, May Belle, had her Twinkies stolen by Janice Avery, Jess and Leslie came up with a plan to get back at her. They wrote her a letter from the guy she liked telling her to meet him after school. She thus missed the bus and was humiliated.
- Jess didn’t know what to get Leslie for Christmas, but he found it one day on the way home from school – a puppy. They called him Prince Terrien. Leslie gave Jess paints and paper.
- Soon, Jess and Leslie stopped going to Terabithia because Leslie had to help her dad remodel their house. Jess was afraid of her dad, so he didn’t go over there anymore.
- Leslie said that Jess should go and help them remodel, so he does. They create the golden room.
- Leslie and Jess started going back to Terabithia.
- Leslie hears Janice Avery crying in the bathroom, and she goes to find out why. She ends up making friends with Janice, so Leslie officially has “one and a half friends.”
- Easter time came, and Leslie asked Jess if she could go to church with him. He said yes, and she dressed up. She really enjoyed herself and thought that the message was interesting while Jess was off in his own world.
- Soon, it began raining without stopping. Jess and Leslie didn’t go to Terabithia for a while, when they finally decided they would. The creek kept rising each day they went back.
- One day Jess decided he didn’t want to go to Terabithia that day because he was too scared.
- That day, after his dad left for work, he went out to milk the cow, when May Belle came out and told him he had a phone call. It was Miss Edmonds asking if Jess would like to go with her to the Smithsonian and National Gallery in Washington.
- He agrees, asks his sleeping mother (who says yes), and leaves for the day.
- He has a great day and just keeps “falling in love” with Miss Edmonds.
- He gets back home, and his dad was there (which he shouldn’t have been), and everyone is sitting in the kitchen and nothing was going on. His mom was relieved to see him.
- His sister tells him that Leslie died, and they thought he had died, too. She died when going to Terabithia by herself and the rope broke, and she drowned in the creek.
- He ran out of the house, and his dad took the truck and went and brought him back.
- The next morning, he decided that it was all a dream until they told him they were going to go visit the family.
- Jess and his parents walk to their house, and everyone is crying. Bill, Leslie’s dad, tells them that she had been cremated, and Jess gets very upset and runs away.
- Jess takes his paints and paper and throws them into the creek where Leslie had died.
- His dad comes and talks to him and helps comfort him.
- Jess once again goes to Terabithia. Since the rope was broken, he puts a log cross the creek and walks across. He makes her a wreath and has a ceremony for her in Terabithia.
- May Belle starts screaming – she is halfway on the log because she was looking for Jess and couldn’t find him. Jess helps her back across the log.
- Leslie’s parents move out of their house, leaving Jess with some more paints and paper. They also say that they can have whatever they leave in the house. Jess asks if he can have some timber, and they let him.
- Jess takes the timber to the place where the rope was at the creek and starts building a bridge. May Belle was there, and Jess shares Terabithia with her, making her a queen.
There is a lot of life application here. I think that through this book, I can realize the value of a good friend to be there. It also shows how children deal with death, which could happen once I am a teacher. Sometimes, too, we take off with our obsessions and leave our friends behind, as Jess did with Miss Edmonds. When we do that, we leave our friends alone, and that can have terrible consequences.
Use in Classroom
I think this book could be used in the classroom because it shows how important it is for kids to have a good friend or two. I also thought it was valuable to see how Leslie went and talked to Janice Avery, even though she as big and scary. Together, they were able to work through their problems and become friends. This book also has value because it teaches students to overcome fears. I think this would be a good book for students to read if there is ever some kind of death in the school, because it will help the kids understand that it is OK to grieve, and that there was nothing they could do about it. - AB