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)