October 21, 1977 a new book was released, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. This is a story about a young boy, Jess, from a small town in Virginia befriends a new girl in town, Leslie. Leslie becomes good friends with Jess shortly after she beats all the boys in a race at school, definitely shocks everyone, but makes her a new friend. Jess and Leslie bond over their personal trouble at home and school, they are there for each other like no one else is or has been. These two out adventuring one day find a place across the creek, that they name Terabithia - which of course they are king and queen of. When they are at Terabithia, Jess and Leslie are finally free to be themselves not having to worry what the rest of the world thinks of them. One day Leslie decided to go to Terabithia alone, as she was swinging on the rope to get across the creek..the rope wears thin and breaks. She is immediately swept into the water and drowns. This tragedy breaks Jess' heart, but he eventually comes to realize that things like this is what their friendship had prepared him for.
Bridge to Terabithia later went on to win several medals over the years. In 1977, it won two awards, the ALA Notable Children's Books and the School Library Journal Best Book of the year. The next year it won another two medals, Lewis Carroll Shelf Award and the Newbery Medal. Again in 1981, Bridge to Terabithia got two more medal, Janusz Korczak Medal (Poland) and Silver Pencil Award (Netherlands). Lastly in 1986, the Le Grand Prix des Jeunes Lecturs (France) and the Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award.
Bridge to Terabithia won this medal in 1978.
There are several themes found throughout the book but the main theme is friendship. Friendship is found all through the book, Jess and Leslie become extremely good friends. Friends are the family you get to chose yourself, and in this case the most important thing. Leslie and Jess supported, understood each other, and helped the other evolve as a person no matter what was going on in their lives.
This is a quote relating to how special their friendship was.
Another theme found a lot in this book is family, both Jess and Leslie have trouble with their home lives. Although they have just met, the bond they share is something that connects the two like family. They become like each other's family instead of turning to their real families for help, they always turn to the other. Until Leslie dies at the end, then Less feels alone and wishes to remake that connection with someone else.
This kind of expresses the trouble in the family, how they are different than the rest of their families.
Death is, last but not least, really important in this book. When Leslie died in the end, the hurt that Jess felt made the whole book. He was so hurt but the way he got through it showed the importance of their friendship. He knew that is what Leslie was trying to prepare him for, extreme hurt, and he knew exactly how she would get him through it so that is what he done.