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The winner of numerous awards and recipient of four starred reviews, Anne Ursu's Breadcrumbs is a stunning and heartbreaking story of growing up, wrapped in a modern-day fairy tale.

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before he stopped talking to her and disappeared into a forest with a mysterious woman made of ice. Now it's up to Hazel to go in after him. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Breadcrumbs is a stunningly original fairy tale of modern-day America, a dazzling ode to the power of fantasy, and a heartbreaking meditation on how growing up is as much a choice as it is something that happens to us.

In Breadcrumbs, Anne Ursu tells, in her one-of-a-kind voice, a story that brings together fifty years of children's literature in a tale as modern as it is timeless. Hazel's journey to come to terms with her evolving friendship with Jack will deeply resonate with young readers.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062015068
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/02/2013
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 144,621
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Anne Ursu is the author of Breadcrumbs, which Kirkus Reviews called a "transforming testament to the power of friendship" in a starred review, and was acclaimed as one of the best books of 2011 by The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly,, and the Chicago Public Library. It was also on the IndieBound Next List and was an NPR Backseat Book Club featured selection. She was also the recipient of the 2013 McKnight Fellowship Award in Children's Literature. Anne teaches at Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She lives in Minneapolis with her son and four cats—monster fighters, all.

Erin McGuire is an illustrator of picture books and middle grade novels, including Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu, the Nancy Drew Diaries series, and Sleeping Beauty by Cynthia Rylant. When not drawing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and camping. Erin lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and two cats. Visit her online at

What People are Saying About This

Gary Schmidt

“This is a lyrical book, a lovely book, and a smart book; it dares us to see stories as spreading more widely, and running more deeply, than we had imagined.”

Ingrid Law

“Devastatingly brilliant and beautiful...Ursu has sculpted a rich and poignant adventure that brings readers deep into the mysterious, magical, and sometimes frightening forests of childhood and change. Breadcrumbs is one of those rare novels that turned me on my head then sat on my heart and refused to budge.”

Customer Reviews

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Breadcrumbs 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 118 reviews.
The-Happy-Booker More than 1 year ago
Breadcrumbs is a charming and enchanting new novel by Anne Ursu. Billed as Middle Grade fiction, the lyrical writing and interesting mix of fantasy and reality will appeal to Young Adult and Adult readers alike. Breadcrumbs is an emotional journey that follows Hazel as she navigates a dangerously magical forest on her quest to reach the Snow Queen's lair and rescue her best friend Jack. One of the many things I enjoyed about Breadcrumbs is that it evoked such nostalgic memories of my own childhood. There is an almost natural separation that happens in boy/girl friendships at a certain age and Ursu highlights this with such poignancy that it is beautiful to read. Hazel shone as the main character and her courage, loyalty, and fortitude were inspiring. I loved her whimsical nature, her willingness to trust her intuition as she faced some terrifying challenges and persevered through seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The way her character evolved throughout the story was wonderful. The quest that Hazel undertook was as much about self discovery as it was about the strength of friendship and Hazel learned something valuable with each step of the journey. Within the story, there were nods to many other popular children's tales such as Harry Potter and Narnia and of course, the Snow Queen which inspired this novel. These mentions made sense in the context of the story and I don't feel that they were overused at all. This was an emotional and whimsical modern fairy tale with overtones of melancholy and nostalgia. This is one of those reads that stays with you long after turning the last page, a modern day classic. I would recommend this to readers of all ages and would go so far as to say that you will be missing out if you don't have a copy of this on your shelf.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am in love with this is the greatest book of all time. You need to read it. It is intense,great,and an awesome book to read. Please if you are thinking about reading this book YES READ IT! I LOVE IT! Amazing book, Love it!
SummerR More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much! It is seriously one of the best books that i have ever read. I love the idea of how it's like magic in the real world. A beautiful and touching story about friendship, magic, and growing up. I would reccommend this book to everyone, young and old. I loved this book at almost fourteen, and I will love it at twenty. It's amazing, touching, and beautiful. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Breadcrumbs is a really cool book that you can just eat up! Don't judge it by it's name cause' it rocks. Some parts are strange but mysterious. Don't think of what will happen because what will happen is totally unpredictable.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Rita V for Readers Favorite Breadcrumbs is an intriguing modern day fairy tale written by Anne Ursu and Erin Mcquire. Inspired by Hans Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Hazel and Jack have a bond like no other and share a passion for fantasy. Soon, the dynamics of their unique friendship change, and Jack seems to drift away from Hazel after a precarious snowstorm shifts his world. Needing a drastic change in his life, Jack finds himself lured away by a mysterious ice witch, leaving Hazel behind to pick up the pieces. Hazel is devoted to Jack, and she decides to set out on a great adventure to rescue him. But as Jack drifts off further and further, he does not seem to want to be rescued. Hazel finds her inner courage and battles the elements while leaving a breadcrumb trail in search for Jack in the deep snowy forest. Their imaginations carry them away into a fantasy land with eminent danger, beautiful landscapes and in search for their true identities. This mysterious and compelling children's fairy tale is a must read for all older children. The cover of Breadcrumbs is truly eye catching and provides a great introduction into the story. The characters are all well developed and each contains great depth and mystery. Older children will be able to comprehend this story easily as they drift off into a fantasy land like no other. The modern day themes of divorce, depression, conformity, loss of friendship and not being able to fit in are brilliantly woven in. Children will be able to relate to this magical wonderland while also bringing away lessons they are able to grip in real life. This book brought me back to my childhood where believing in magic again felt wonderful and inspiring. I found myself so intertwined with the book that I could hardly set it down. This fast paced adventure is exciting and packed with twists and turns in each chapter. The lesson to come away with at the end is that friendships are special and not to be given up on. Being true to oneself is all we can strive for. Breadcrumbs is creativity and imagination at its best, and I recommend this brilliantly written fairytale for all older children as well as adults. Anne Ursu and Erin Mcquire do not disappoint in this truly unique story that I can easily see developed into a television series or a big screen motion picture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't have high hopes for this book, so I was really surprised when I read it. I had read Anne Ursu's "The Shadow Thieves" and that book is a complete waste of money and time. This book is not. It's a beautiful, touching story about friendship and magic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a really good book trust me im eleven and i love it its totaly worth it!!!:):):) If you like it please tell me i need friend!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so beautiful, but at times, Hazel, the main character, has thoughts that are way too old for a middle schooler. She sounds so much older than she actually is. Also, stick with it! The first bit is slightly boring, but becomes so much more. BEAUTIFUL!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it so much that i would recomend it to everyone i know!!!! I might just do that i wish there were 100 stars so i could fill all of them!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it sutaible for young children
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Spectacular! Very suspenseful. Must Read!
MSMBookMaven More than 1 year ago
For fans of fairytales MUST read this well-crafted tale based, of course, on Hansel and Gretel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book at first it seem as if it was made for younger kids but got better as I went on. At some parts I could not stop reading a wonderful fairytale!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very great book If you read it u will not put it down,go to sleep,and eat until u read this very special book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Iread this in a few hours praise for breadcrumbs a wonderous spectacular book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This reminds me of my best friend and I. We both have big imaginations and we both love to read. My best friend is a boy as well and I'm not adopted from India like Hazel but I am half Indian. I really love this book and i recommend it. I fell in love with this story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book you will always remember because that is how good this book is: )
cats679 More than 1 year ago
I bought the book to read to my grandchildren when they come and stay. It is too long for that and they are not of the age to sit that long and listen. I started reading it and couldn't put it down. It keeps you reading till the end but it also makes one tend to be cold. Chasing an Ice witch will do that. I did so enjoy the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was really good it is very entertaining and Hazel is very brave to rescue her friend Jack from the snow queen. Very intense and tons of action!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a very good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Omg you have to read it!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book looks pretty awesome of what i read. I only read the sample but it i awesome and i want to read more! At my school book sale they had this book amd that is what made me read the sample of. And as i have already said this book is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yippy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I aint finished this yet but it great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ive read the first two pagesand fell in love who ever is having second thoughtsabout this book Dont its that good you'll love it.