Bridge to Terabithia
In Katherine Patterson's Newberry award winning novel, "Bridge to Terabithia," two 5th grade kids dream up a magical land where they can escape from the pressures of everyday life. Jesse and Leslie don't quite fit in with the rest of the kids in their rural community. Their friendship and their imaginary kingdom provide them with a safe place to be themselves.
The story follows a young boy who has to handle some very grown-up situations. Jess and the other characters in the book deal with issues such as poverty, child abuse, and the death of loved ones. Patterson handles these issues with tenderness and humor while maintaining a realistic representation of a child's world view. The story manages to be uplifting without shying away from the darker realities of life.