Jess gets up early every morning to run. He wants to be the fastest boy in the 5th grade. New neighbors move into the old Perkins farmhouse next door. Jess meets Leslie and thinks her clothes make her odd-looking. Leslie beats all the boys at running at recess, making Jess disappointed. Leslie mistakenly sits at the back of the bus in Janice Avery's seat, and Jess rescues her. Jess and Leslie become good friends. They establish the kingdom of Terabithia in the woods beyond the creek. Leslie gives Jess paints and paper to practice his wonderful drawing ability. Jess gives Leslie a puppy. Leslie goes to Easter services with the Aarons family. Jess goes to Washington museums with his music teacher. Leslie drowns trying to cross the flooded creek to Terabithia. Jess and the Aarons go to pay their respects to Leslie's family. Leslie's family moves out of the Perkins farm and returns to Washington. Jess builds a bridge to Terabithia, and introduces his younger sister, May Belle, to it.