Bridge to Terabithia
Fifth-graders Jess and Leslie become the best of friends, sharing the secrets and imaginations with one another. In particular, they imagine a magical kingdom all of their own, Terabithia, to explore their dreams and escape their fears and anxieties. When Leslie drowns in a swimming accident, Jess must confront his first face to face meeting with grief.
Bridge to Terabithia is a modern classic of children’s literature, widely studied in schools and just as widely the subject for demands for censorship despite its only very mild language and hardly-groundbreaking treatments of how religious faith is tested in such situations. Written after Katherine Paterson’s own young son lost a friend in an accident, its honesty and realism about childhood, death and grief has made it one of the most widely-read children’s books of the last 50 years.