Award-winning children's novels and novelists are finding their way into paperback editions faster than ever these days. Notable titles from publishers' fall lists include: Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson (Harper & Row, $2.50, ages 10 to 14). A fifth-grade runner befriends a new girl at school, enters into her make-believe kingdom, and then has to face a sudden tragedy. (Newbery Medal.)
The Dark Is Rising Sequence, by Susan Cooper (Macmillan, $11.95 for boxed set of four books, ages 11 and up). In the age-old struggle of good and evil, the Dark rises and the servants of the Light - the immortal Old Ones - rush to vanquish it forever in the darkly brooding Welsh mountains of Arthurian legend. (Newbery Medal.)
Early Thunder, by Jean Fritz (Viking Penguin, $3.95, ages 10 to 14). A stirring historical tale of the American Revolution told through the eyes of a 14-year-old Tory living in Salem, Mass., in 1774 who has to make a difficult decision during a night of battle and confrontation.
The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson (Harper & Row, $2.95, ages 10 to 14). A brash and sassy youngster plans an escape from her latest foster home and its freaky members, only to find that she's been drawn into their circle of love. (Newbery Honor Book.)
A Little Fear, by Patricia Wrightson (Viking Kestrel, $3.50, ages 10 to 14). A fantasy novel set in Australia about an elderly citizen who takes off on her own from the ``home,'' and discovers that she's not alone in her new cottage. (Hans Christian Andersen Award.)
M.C. Higgins, the Great, by Virginia Hamilton (Macmillan, $3.95, ages 12 and up). A young black boy tries to save his family's home from Ohio strip mining and ultimately comes to terms with his own heritage and identity. (Newbery Medal.)
Queen of Hearts, by Vera and Bill Cleaver. (Harper & Row, $2.95, ages 10 and up). A resourceful 12-year-old takes over the full-time care of her demanding grandmother and begins to understand what it means to grow old. (ALA Notable Children's Book.)
Thimble Summer, by Elizabeth Enright (Dell, $2.95, ages 10 and up). A joyous look at everyday life on a Wisconsin farm, from winning a blue ribbon at the summer fair to building a new barn. (Newbery Medal.)