Scholastic Kids Press Corps
The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation.  The interactive site brings daily news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.

Interview with Katherine Paterson

Kid Reporters meet author of Bridge to Terabithia

By Desirae Colorado and Kendra Perkins | November 20 , 2006
Scholastic Kid Reporters Kendra Perkins (top L) and Desirae Colorado pictured with author Katherine Paterson and her son David. (Photo: Courtesy Kendra Perkins and Desirae Colorado)
Scholastic Kid Reporters Kendra Perkins (top L) and Desirae Colorado pictured with author Katherine Paterson and her son David. (Photo: Courtesy Kendra Perkins and Desirae Colorado)

Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson, is a Newbery Medal-winning book that has been popular for nearly thirty years. The author’s message of friendship and loss is as strong today as it was when it was first published in 1977.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Katherine Paterson and her son David. We spoke with the pair at the Catamount Ski Center in Williston, Vermont. During our time together, we learned about Paterson's life and the story behind Bridge to Terabithia.

Katherine Paterson was born in the Jiangsu Province of China in the city of Qing Jiang. As a child, Paterson loved to read. Her first published work appeared in the Shanghai American School Newspaper when she was when she was 7 years old. She wrote:

“Pat. Pat. Pat.
There is the cat.
Where is the rat?
Pat. Pat. Pat.”

Katherine never thought she would be a writer when she grew up. Using her imagination was something that just came naturally—especially when her family moved to another city.

“When I moved I never had any friends initially," she explained. "So I had to make up things inside my own head.”

One of the most interesting things we learned is why Paterson wrote the story. When David was a child, his best friend—Lisa Hill—died at age eight. Lisa was struck and killed by lightning, leaving David feeling miserable and confused. As Paterson watched her son struggle with the tragedy, she wrote Bridge to Terabithia to try to make sense things.

The book, she explained, “grew out of their friendship.”

In the book, a girl named Leslie Burke, boldly crosses over to the boys’ side of the playground on the first day of school. Once there, she proudly outruns everyone! According to Paterson, the character of Leslie is based on David's friend, Lisa Hill.

This is the beginning of a great friendship between Leslie and a young boy—Jess Aarons. The two friends create a magical kingdom, Terabithia, where they reign as king and queen. Unfortunately, their friendship is torn apart by a terrible tragedy . . .

As huge fans of the book, we were especially excited to hear about the film adaptation of Bridge to Terabithia. The movie is being produced by David Paterson and will hit theaters next February. From what we learned, we predict that the movie will be a sensation!

There's plenty of time to pick up the book before the movie comes out. If you've never read Katherine Paterson's moving story, pick up a copy of Bridge to Terabithia, and get started!

About the Author

Desirae Colorado is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

Kendra Perkins is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Exceeding the Standards

    Exceeding the Standards

    by Margaret Moustafa

    You don't need to give up what you know about best practice to address your state's standards! Margaret Moustafa shows you how you can not only meet but exceed the standards by aligning your state standards with such research-proven best practices as the read aloud, shared and guided reading and writing, reading and writing workshop, literature circles, directed reading and thinking activity, language experience, and reader's theater. Each instructional strategy benefits children at specific stages of their development in reading and writing - beginning, early, advanced early, and independent. Additionally, each strategy follows an easy-to-use format beginning with a quick overview of the practice, followed by the purpose of the practice, the materials you need, step-by-step procedures for teaching and assessing, potential mistakes to avoid, the research that informs the practice, instructional links, and follow-up reading. Moustafa carefully aligns the best practice to teach each standard requirement across a K-5 spectrum. 176 pages.

    Click here to learn more about Scholastic Professional

    $5.50 You save: 75%
    Professional Book | Grades K-5
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Exceeding the Standards
    Grades K-5 $5.50
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Summer Express 6–7

    Summer Express 6–7

    by Frankie Long Leland Graham

    View Sample Pages

    Give your child a head start in school! Summer Express includes 100 fun-filled activity pages—arranged in a progressive, 10-week format—that reinforce skills while preparing sixth graders for seventh grade.

    In this learning-packed book, your child will work on the following skills:
    • Math
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Vocabulary
    • Grammar

    A summer’s worth of great learning! 144 pages.

    You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader® software, version 4.0 or higher, to view and print the sample page above. Get Adobe Reader® for FREE.

    $11.24 You save: 25%
    Work Book | Grades 6-7
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Summer Express 6–7
    Grades 6-7 $11.24
    Add To Cart
Privacy Policy




Here's something interesting from