Appearance Edit

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In the 1985 movie, Leslie has brown hair, and brown eyes, though in the 2007 movie, she has short blond hair, light skin, and blue eyes. In the book, she has "jaggedy brown hair cut close to" her face with no mention of eye color.

Leslie Burke is a ten year old girl who just moved in to the town of Lark Creek. She becomes friends with Jesse after winning in an all-boys race. Together, they create a made up world called Terabithia where they reign over it as king and queen. One day when Jesse decides not to meet at Terabithia because of the rain and an appointment with his teacher, Leslie decides to go herself. When the vine you need to swing on to get into Terabithia snaps, Leslie falls into the creek below and dies.

She's the one who sees magic in the ordinary, sees Terabithia where there's just a forest, and is the one who helps Jess see those things too.

We know what Jess's ambitions are, but we don't really know Leslie's. In fact, we never learn as much about her as we do about Jess, or about what Jess thinks about her. We do know she loves stories – reading them, telling them, and making them up. The girl's curious, she genuinely wants to know things, and she's a "beautiful", naturally fast runner. But we don't really know what she wants to be when she grows up, or what drives her she's had a hard time, with only "one and one-half friends," Jess and Janice. In fact without Jess, we can bet her year in Lark Creek would've been pretty miserable. Her father later thanks Jess "for being such a wonderful friend to her", and tells him "she loved [him]" .

Jess always thinks of Leslie as full of courage when he is afraid. When he asks her if she's frightened of Janice Avery, it's mainly because the thought of her getting frightened is incredible: "he didn't mean it in a daring way, he was just dumbfounded by the idea of Leslie being scared" . There are two things to take from this. First, Jess has important things to teach Leslie too, like feeling compassion for scary enemies or "predators." He helps her to stretch her mind just as she stretched his. Second, sometimes being too brave can be foolish or tragic. Because Leslie doesn't feel or recognize fear when the creek to Terabithia is overfilling with rushing water, she makes the overconfident leap of trying to cross it by herself.

Leslie changes Jess's life, there's no question about that. Yet even when she's gone, she's still present for Jess and is still helping him grow into a better, more noble person – a person worthy of Terabithia:

It was Leslie who had taken him from the cow pasture into Terabithia and turned him into a king. […] hadn't Leslie, even in Terabithia, tried to push back the walls of his mind and make him see beyond to the shining world – huge and terrible and beautiful and very fragile?

Leslie's gift was that she knew that "shining world," in all its terror and glory, joy and heartbreak, was out there, waiting for them, and she was able to "make [Jess] see beyond to" it. We can only imagine what she herself saw and what else she would have been able to learn, and to teach, had she lived.Jess has a huge crush on his young music teacher, Miss Edmonds, and would do anything to be with her. The central crisis occurs when Jess goes with Miss Edmonds to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and Leslie goes to Terabithia alone.

While Jess is away at the museum, Leslie tries to swing across on the rope to Terabithia. As she is swinging, the rope snaps (as Jesse warned her it would) and she plummets into the creek, hitting her head, and drowning.


  • In the book and 1985 film, Leslie refers to her parents by their first names, but in the 2007 film, she calls them Mom and Dad.
  • In the 2007 film she has blonde hair and blue eyes but in the book and 1985 film she has brown hair and brown eyes.
  • In the book, Leslie is based off of Lisa Hill, who was best friends of the author, Katherine Patterson's son who died from being struck by lightning. Accoreding to Katherine Patterson, it took a while to work up the courage to kill the girl she had written back to life
  • A common theme in fanfiction based on Bridge to Terabithia, are stories about what would have happened if Leslie didn't die. Others say that she didn't die at all, but was abducted by the Dark Master.
  • Leslie Burke is also the title of a song by Austin, Texas pop band The Sour Notes, inspired by Leslie's rope swing accident while entering Terabithia.
  • A fanfic named "Bridge to Terabithia 2: Welcome to Paris " tells that Leslie faked her death, made everything up with Jess and Ms.Edmunds and goes to Paris for a new life with Jess....(
Bridge to Terabithia 2 Welcome to Paris