About the Book

Book Protagonist: Jesse Oliver Aarons
Publication Date: 1977
Genre: Children, Fantasy


Bridge to Terabithia

By Katherine Paterson

‘Bridge to Terabithia’ by Katherine Paterson is a fantasy thriller which explores the dynamics of children’s life in the aspects of family, love, loneliness, friendship, and grief.

To readers, ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ can be a magnetic book in that it touches deeply on the inner child in all of us by picturesquely describing the feelings and events those moments of childhood presented. One immediately gets on the same page as the book from the first flipping of the covers. From there, it’s easily a joyride straight through memory lane.

A Tale of Friendship

Katherine Paterson’s ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ is one of the easiest, simple-to-read books I’ve read. With a little over 200 pages and the choice of words used, ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ is one novel anyone who loves a good story can grab and finish within a few hours.

There are several prominent themes in ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ – but I’d like to think the theme of friendship – being one of them – is the connecting dot through which author Katherine Paterson explored most of the other themes.

From the start of the book, the reader finds Jesse Aarons feeling alone and uncared for – despite being a member of a large family of seven. I don’t think Jesse wanting a little affection and care shown to him by his parents and sisters is too much to ask. But, he doesn’t get it, what he gets in fact is quite the opposite; a cold shoulder, from his sisters, from his busy parents.

Just a few walks away from Jesse’s house reside the Burke family – Bill and Judy Burke and their 10 or 11-year-old daughter Leslie. Although this family is relatively well off and has fewer issues than Jesse’s, Leslie finds herself feeling lonely and abandoned because her work-from-home writer’s parents wouldn’t give her the time and attention that she needs.

As they search for their shared needs, Jesse and Leslie discover each other and ignite a friendship that grows strong enough to fulfill their other childhood desires, unite both their families and even convert bullies into acquaintances and half friends. This friendship will then go on to help Jesse understand better how to treat his sisters, relate with his parents, and make up with his fifth-grade teachers – especially the ones he started out not liking.

Real and Ordinary Characters Exploring the Extraordinary

There is nothing exceptional about Katherine Paterson’s character choices as they are and appear very real and ordinary just like normal characters portrayed in children’s books.

However, the amazing thing with these characters, particularly Jesse and Leslie, is their ability to search for solutions to their issues far into the realms of the extraordinary. They are not limited to the reality of things around them but go exploring their imagination to create the beautiful and magical Terabithia out of a wasteland.

A Few Profanities Here and There

This is perhaps the most noticeable low of Katherine Paterson’s ‘Bridge to Terabithia’, the same reason for which the book was banned from being distributed to some schools following its publication.

Despite it containing a few words considered inappropriate at the time – much less for children, I still think these words and expressions are honorable used by the author just enough to keep the stories within the plot as real and relatable as possible.


Why was ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ banned?

Following its publication, ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ was banned from circulation in some schools which didn’t think children should be exposed to certain aspects of life as the book did at the time.

Is the book ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ suitable for children?

Bridge to Terabithia’ was in fact written for children by Katherine Paterson – to help them start early on in dealing with real-life lows – such as loneliness and grief.

How long does it take to start and finish Katherine Paterson’s ‘Bridge to Terabithia’?

For a book that has 208 pages and is written in simple English language, a serious reader who enjoys a good children’s story could typically take just a few hours a day to start and finish Katherine Paterson’s ‘Bridge to Terabithia’.

Bridge to Terabithia Review
  • Story
  • Diction
  • Characters
  • Setting
  • Climax

Bridge to Terabithia Review: Everyone Could Use a Good Friendship

‘Bridge to Terabithia’ by Katherine Paterson is a classic children’s book that talks about how effective friendship can be in helping children and young people get through their fears, loneliness, and grief. ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ is packed with life’s lessons – especially helpful to persons coming of age. Still, the plots therein have proved to resonate with all-comers – both the young and old alike.


  • A captivating beginning of plots
  • Simple characters with extraordinary potential
  • Ideas are logical and realistic


  • Diction may be considered somewhat inappropriate for children
  • Talks up gender roles, stereotypes, and preferences
  • Important scenes are reported rather than playing out for themselves
Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
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