I recently read that Katherine Paterson was named National Ambassador of Young People's Literature and the announcement made me smile. And remember. It set me off on a bit of a rabbit trail.
My favorite class in college was Children's Literature. It was not taught by my favorite teacher (that would be Teaching Reading and Reading Disabilities). Children's Literature was wonderful because, well, it required that I read the best of the best of children's books all semester and spend hours sequestered with my best friends in the tiny section of the Ed School library that was devoted to Children's Lit.
It was autumn of my third year when I read Bridge to Terabithia. Page after page, a beautiful friendship unfolded. In the woods of a countryside that sounded very much like my beloved northern Virginia woods, Jess and Leslie became best friends. [My recent rabbit trail confirms that she was indeed inspired by the woods here in my county.]
Sitting in that tiny library, turning page after page until I read it one sitting, I remembered.
I remembered an early teen friendship that later became a romance of fits and starts. The romance part was too much, too soon. But the friendship part was precious and rare and so very much like that of Jess and Leslie. When Leslie died and Jess grieved, I felt so sorry for him that I picked up the phone.
I called that dear friend and we talked for hours. He invited me to come home one weekend very soon.
We walked those woods again.
We were married two years later.
I'm a big fan of Katherine Paterson:-)
*And no, I haven't seen the movie. Some books are just too dear to risk messing them up by watching the movie.