Jess and Leslie both share a love for running. Jess is a good runner who aspires to be the fastest runner in his class. Leslie is a great runner who manages to beat even all the boys the first time she races them.
Both Jess and Leslie have very creative personalities. Jess is an artist, and although his work is generally unappreciated by the people in his life, he draws "the way some people drink whiskey". When he has a chance to retire to his room with his artist's materials, "the peace would start at the top of his muddled brain and seep down through his tired and tensed-up body...Lord, he loved to draw...animals, mostly...not regular animals...but crazy animals with problems...(in) impossible fixes" (Chapter 2). Leslie's creativity shows in her storytelling. Terabithia with all its situations and characters are driven largely because of her ability to create magic through her imagination.
Perhaps the most significant characteristic Jess and Leslie share is their need for "a place...just for us". Both children have difficulties at home. Jess is the overlooked only son in a family of demanding sisters; he is often taken-advantage-of when his siblings refuse to do their share, and his own needs are frequently overlooked. Leslie's parents live a unique lifestyle which makes her an outcast with the kids at school. Both Leslie and Jess feel the need to have some control over their lives, and at Terabithia, at least, they can be "ruler(s) of something" (Chapter 4).