About the Book: Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now that they were eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn’t help it – Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn’t fit anywhere else.
And then, one day, it was over. Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to boys and girls at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it’s never that simple. And it turns out, she was right. Jack’s heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now, it’s up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him. Hazel finds, however, that these woods are nothing like what she’s read about, and the Jack that Hazel went in to save isn’t the same Jack that will emerge. Or even the same Hazel.
Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” Breadcrumbs is a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.
My Two Cents:Breadcrumbs is a lovely book. It’s full of allusions to classic children’s literature–Hans Christian Andersen, of course, but also Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Chronicles of Narnia, His Dark Materials, Coraline, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, A Wrinkle in Time, and probably many more that I missed. (There’s even a Star Wars reference.) It’s rare to find a middle grade book with such a selfless main character, but Hazel’s earnest and endearing love for her friend is the core of this story. Hazel’s quest to find Jack and ultimately, to find herself, is really touching and well-crafted.
Grade Level: 3-7
- Anne Ursu’s website
- Learn a little more about Jack’s favorite baseball player, Joe Mauer
- Read a brief biography of Hans Christian Andersen
- Read the story of The Snow Queen. How is it similar to Breadcrumbs? How is it different?
- Learn more about Snowflake Bentley and see his amazing snowflake photographs
More to Read:
- Another book about a girl who has to rescue her best friend from an evil lady–and learn something about herself in the process: The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand
- Another book about a girl and a boy with a changing and sometimes challenging friendship: Shug by Jenny Han
- The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales, including The Snow Queen, The Red Shoes, and The Little Match Girl
- The whole library of books alluded to in Breadcrumbs (and listed above.)