Celebrating Banned Books week with “Bridge to Terabithia” By Katherine Paterson
Somewhere, there’s someone who doesn’t want me to read “Bridge to Terabithia,” likely due to the heart-breakingly sad ending, the fact that there’s a character in the story who’s father beats her, or the use of the word “Damn.”
So I read it. I remember it vaguely from elementary school, but decided it was time for a re-read. Man, am I glad I did.
What a wonderful book about friendship and growing up. Preteen Jess has worked all summer to get faster at running so he can be the fastest kid in the fifth grade, but his plans are cut short by the arrival of a new neighbor girl – Leslie – who is faster than all the boys. Jess and Leslie soon become best friends, and build an imaginary kingdom in the woods and make themselves King and Queen. It’s a touching story of two kids learning about the world.
And then there’s the sad part. And geez, is it sad. But it’s not unrealistic. Tragedies happen to even the best of kids, and kids shouldn’t spend all their lives reading about fairy princesses and happily ever after. I’m keeping this one on my bookcase for a few years down the line when my son is ready for a great read. Also, a Newberry Award winner. 😉
If we’re speaking of the power of books, when I mentioned on facebook that I was reading this, here are some responses I got;
“It will make you cry.”
“Just don’t read “Where the Red Fern Grows” or “My Brother Sam is Dead” for a few weeks after Bridge to Terebithia or you won’t be able to get out of bed ever again.”
“Bridge to Terebithia is the only book I found worthy of pulling an all-nighter (as a Fr. in college), just to have an uninterrupted, unassigned pleasure read. Wonderful book.”
These terrible books, these banned books, are the ones we remember.
Celebrate the power of amazing literature this week — read a banned book.