100 Chapter Books Read-along: Bridge to Terabithia

100 Chapter Books Read-Along: Bridge to Terabithia

A simple story of the budding friendship between a girl and a boy, Bridge to Terabithia (1977) by Katherine Paterson was bound to be on the list. Personally, I would never, ever have voted it on there. I was, in fact, shocked that it made it to the top ten because I have been dreading a reread ever since my 6th grade teachers read it to us in class. And I’m not alone. I just had to tweet about speeding through the book to get it over with (I used the bandaid metaphor — pull as fast as possible but still can’t avoid some tears) and Anastasia and Eva both jumped in to talk about the copious tween tears during this book and others. Anastasia even wrote a post called “How to make a 5th grader cry: a list”, inspired by that conversation.

So, how did the reread go, you ask? Well, I cried. But this time I cried as a parent, not as a child and it was different. I still didn’t love the book. I thought the story was dated in a way that I suppose becomes classic and representative at some point but right now I didn’t entirely enjoy. And the foreshadowing was very, very heavy-handed. Yet … I can see how this book would have a large and lasting impact on a child’s reading life. (You can go read the reasons given for voting the book onto the list to see that impact.) I think, for me, this could have been the book that originally put me off of misery fiction.

If you haven’t read this story yet, it’s eighth on the ALA list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books for the decade 1990–2000 so you could definitely pick it up during Banned Books Week. It’s a quick though devastating read and I’ve purposely not spoiled it for anyone even though I’m guessing many of you already know what happens.

Verdict: Borrow (nobody is going to want to reread this one)

Have you ever reread this book? Purposely? Really?

To tie in with Black History Month, I chose The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 as the first February title. I’ve never read it before though I’ve seen it on the shelves. Will you join me in reading it? Also, the title after that, The Diamond in the Window, is out of print so, if you are planning on joining in, you might need some time to ILL it.

*****

Schedule – February through May

note: dates are not necessarily set in stone – posts may go up a day or two before or after

February 15 – #25 The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis (1995)
February 28 – #97 The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton (1962) — out of print
March 15 – #12 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (1999) — 3rd in a series
March 31 – #83 Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1907) — 3rd in a series
April 15 – #33 Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien (1971)
April 30 – #9 The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (1978)
May 15 – #17 Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (1964)
May 31 – #38 Frindle by Andrew Clements (1996)

7 thoughts on “100 Chapter Books Read-along: Bridge to Terabithia

  1. I’m almost afraid to say this…I didn’t cry. BUT, that was because of the heavy-handed foreshadowing. I already knew what was coming and was WELL prepared. Which annoyed me. Extremely annoyed me. On so many levels. One most being that it seems narrow-minded (is that the word I want?) of Paterson to assume anyone needs THAT MUCH FORESHADOWING and that readers can’t handle the subject matter without THAT MUCH FORESHADOWING. Also, it felt like an amateurish trick.

    Anyhoo.

    Surprisingly, I still enjoyed the book. I loved the kids imagination, the fact that they were outside PLAYING instead of cooped up in the house all day, that they had to do chores, and on and on. Reminded me of my own childhood (not that it was THAT long ago!). Was quite refreshing.

    • I was really annoyed by the heavy foreshadowing too. I wish I knew if my 6th grade self figured out what was going to happen before it did. I just can’t remember though. It was like the only reason she went to church with them was for foreshadowing. Nothing else really happened there — and you think it would if a kid who never went to church finally went! Oh the things they would see and think.

  2. I have not read this book, nor seen the movie, because I know just what happens, and I don’t want to cry, if I can help it. It is definitely one way to scar a fifth grader, that’s for sure!

    • Yeah, it has me wondering what age is the right age for this book. Some would say that kids need to be exposed to loss early to prepare them for what could come but I am probably more of the opinion that it’s best to leave innocence intact as long as possible. They’ll eventually learn about loss and death without any help from media. It’s an interesting topic!

  3. BAH, this book. I stick my tongue out at it and go “ppbth,”

    Your upcoming schedule is making me VERY giddy, btw! There’s, like, five of my favorite books all in a row, and I am SO EXCITED that you’re going to feature Frindle! I didn’t think anyone besides me ever read it, since it never shows up on blogs nowadays.

    (THE WESTING GAME. Definitely going to reread that this year. YESSSSSS.)

    • I’m glad to hear good things about those ones because I’ve never read either one. Harry Potter, Mrs. Frisby and Ozma are all rereads of favorites though so I like the upcoming schedule too. :) And honestly, I’m just glad to be done with Terabithia.

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