Where Is Terabithia in Real Life?

A scene from the 2007 film ‘Bridge to Terabithia’

"Bridge to Terabithia" is one of the most enduring American children's books for a reason. Despite being frequently challenged by pearl-clutching library goers, the novel, with its themes of friendship and escapism, still holds up decades after its publication. 

In 2007, 30 years after its first printing, the Katherine Paterson book was adapted for theaters by "Rugrats" creator Gábor Csupó, directing a pre-"Hunger Games" Josh Hutcherson as Jess Aarons.

Beautiful locales in New Zealand served as the fictional Lark Creek, Virginia. The stream with the swing was shot close to Wainui while the evergreen forest of Woodhill in Muriwai stood as the landscapes of Terabithia. 

In real life, Lark Creek could have been Takoma Park, Maryland where Katherine's son David found a friend in Lisa Christina Hill. At 8, Lisa met a fateful freak tragedy that would inspire Katherine to write the novel. 

The Newbery Award-winning book struck a chord across generations the way it did because it arose out of grief. "I couldn't even comfort my son. He was so distraught," Katherine recalled to AdLit. "So I did what writers do...they write a story. They try to make sense of something that doesn't make sense."

In the ultimate act of catharsis, David himself would go on to write the 2007 movie, which had AnnaSophia Robb playing Leslie. 

Prior to this version, a TV movie adaptation had been made in 1985 for PBS, starring Annette O'Toole as Miss Edmunds, with Edmonton in Canada posing as Lark Creek. 


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