In the Bridge of Terabithia, Jess Aarons, played by Josh Hutcherson of Zathura, is an eleven year old boy living in a rural area of the South and absolutely loves to run. His dream is to be the fastest kid in his middle school class and, for once, be in the spotlight. Training all summer, he believes that his dream will come true this fall when school starts. However, his dream is unexpectedly thwarted when the new girl, Leslie Burke, played by AnnaSophia Robb of Because of Winn-Dixie and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, who just moved in next door to Jess, boldly competes in the “boys only” race and wins.
Despite their unpromising beginning with an awkward introduction, Jess and Leslie become best friends. And, Jess begins to open up to Leslie by showing a part of him that he has kept very private. Together, they create the secret and magical fantasyland of Terabithia, a place that is only accessible by swinging on an old rope across a stream in the woods. Terabithia allows them to forget about the rest of the world. It's a world filled with amazing creatures, palaces and beautiful forests. There, they rule the kingdom, fight the Dark Master and his bullies and map out their plan to seek revenge against the school bullies.
The time spent in Terabithia strengthens them as they face the trials of everyday life. They learn about imagination and exploration and about families and growing up. And Jess’s artistic talent and ability begin to strengthen, as Leslie provides support for this ambition. The hardest lesson Jess must face is a lesson taught by Leslie…….loss.
David Paterson brings to the screen the story his mother, Katherine Paterson, wrote for him when he was just a boy to help him copy with the loss of a close friend killed in an accident. A Newbery Award-winning novel, the highest honor in children’s publishing, has been a timeless classroom tradition due to its vivid rendering of the captivating land of friendship and its sensitive examination of the series of emotions resulting from a wrenching loss.