I hesitate to even write this post about "Bridge to Terabithia" by Katherine Paterson because the tears aren't completely dried and I know I'll be thinking more clearly later! I was so excited to read this book again. The movie comes out Friday and it looks a little different, but the author's son wrote the screenplay so I'm hoping that any additions will only make it better, if that's possible!
My 4th grade teacher read this book to my class but I clearly remember her crying when she read it and all of the class joining right in! I am not sure what I shouldn't say about the book because I assume that most of us have read it and know what happens, but just in case:
This book deals with a lot of themes that I continue to deal with and work out in my adult life. The main character, Jess Aarons, deals with handling fear, peer pressure, family strife, social awkwardness and death of a loved one. We see his stages of grieving and how he ultimately learns to use the gift that was his time with Leslie to become more of a man and face life's challenges head on. It is a truly touching story.
There are also some themes that I didn't remember from when my teacher read the book to us. There was definitely some language in the book that you'd want to know about before reading it out loud. It was minor, but still something I know some parents don't want their kids exposed to. Also, there are some spiritual aspects that would deserve a separate discussion with kids.
I'd just finished reading "The View from Saturday" and both Terabithia and it used other classic authors in their books. Konigsburg uses some elements from Lewis Carroll and Paterson uses C.S. Lewis' Narnia as an inspiration for Leslie creating the world of Terebithia. I wonder if more of the authors we'll be reading do this. It's definitely made me want to keep reading beyond the Newbery list and I appreciate that and hope the younger readers are inspired to do the same!