Paterson, K. (1977). Bridge to Terabithia. New York, NY: T.Y. Crowell.
Jess comes from a poor family, and his father isn't very supportive. But his dream of being the fastest runner in her class gives him something to shoot for. Then Leslie, a girl, comes in and outruns everyone. They become good friends and create a magical world for themselves in the woods by their town. Leslie show's Jess that the world doesn't have to be so awful, destitute of hope, and tumultuous. She shows him how to have confidence in himself. When Jess finally takes this leap of faith, Leslie suffers a tragic accident. Living without her will be the true test of his transcendence.
This touching story can be read at any level. Teachers can use this novel to teach theme, expose students to dealing with hardship and adversity, and allow students to explore the powerful plot of a story that blends a world of fantasy with the cruelty of reality.