Reviewed by Monique Prince, Undergraduate Services Librarian
To celebrate Banned Book Week, which is September 24 - October 1, I reread a childhood favorite, Bridge to Terabithia. I first read this in fifth grade; I vividly remember sobbing as I read the ending and wondered if I would do the same thing this time around. Set in rural Virginia, this book is about a friendship that changes ordinary life into a world of imagination and magic. The two main characters are fifth graders Jess and Leslie. Leslie is the new kid in school and after a rocky start, becomes Jess's best friend. Together, they invent a secret world called Terabithia, which they rule as King and Queen and defend against opposing foes. When Jess is faced with the tragic loss of his best friend, he is at a crossroads--will he abandon Terabithia and refuse to heal after Leslie's death, or will he accept the challenge of ruling Terabithia alone? While as a ten-year-old, I cried when Leslie died, this time I was most struck by the simple beauty of Jess's grief in the days that follow. This was especially touching after learning that Katherine Paterson wrote this novel for her young son after his best friend died. Perhaps because of the subject matter, Newbery Medal winner Bridge to Terabithia is ranked #9 on the top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books (1990-2000).