The story is about a boy named Jess who gets lost in the shuffle of his big family. He is a talented artist, but no one notices, except his teacher. He finally finds a kindred spirit in Leslie, the new girl at school who beats him in a footrace. The two live near each other and make their own magical kingdom in the woods, known as Terabithia. Leslie is a free spirit who is misunderstood by her peers. She stands up for those who are usually picked on and doesn't have a TV. Jess admires her and the two have a blast.
But then tragedy strikes and childhood innocence is lost. Confusion sets in, but so does a new level of love and acceptance.
I still bawl like a baby when I get to the end of the book. It always hurts, no matter knowing how and when it is going to happen and no matter how many times I have read it or seen the movies. Some schools don't like to teach this book in their classrooms. Some parents have a problem with it. I don't understand why. Death and life and the trials and tribulations of being a kid are a part of life. This book is just one way of teaching kids how to cope in a way.
Katharine Paterson has written numerous other novels and picture books. She won the Newbery Medal for both Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved. Unfortunately, I have not read any of her other books, though Jacob has been on my list to read for a couple of decades now. Perhaps I need to get on that...