Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Breadcrumbs, by Anne Ursu (ages 9 - 14) - blog tour & giveaway!

Do you ever find yourself completely taken away by a book? Perhaps it's the setting that completely enchants you? Or the characters are so real that you feel they might be your best friend or your forgotten twin? Perhaps it's that the writing is so beautiful that you find yourself continually saying, "Oh, yes..." Or it's a book you want to keep sharing with friends. I was completely taken by Breadcrumbs, by Anne Ursu, and am so excited about its release. I'm thrilled to be part of the blog tour celebrating this book. A special bonus is that Anne Ursu is offering a Skype visit for a class or book group - see below for details.
by Anne Ursu
illustrations by Erin McGuire
NY: Walden Pond Press / HarperCollins, 2011
ages 9 - 14
available at your local bookstore
Hazel just wishes that life around her would work the way it does in all the stories she reads, that she could figure out how and why everyone acts the way they do. But at her new school, they don't celebrate children with imaginations and they just want Hazel to pay attention and stop daydreaming. The only thing getting Hazel through each day of 5th grade is knowing that her best friend Jack is just across the hall. Maybe at recess they'll play together. They've been friends for years. But lately, things are changing. Jack's changing. And this is just one more thing that Hazel is having trouble figuring out. How can something, someone you know and trust, change just like that?

Breadcrumbs starts with a snow storm in the real world, but even from the beginning you know that something is different. Ursu draws the reader in with her wonderful, descriptive writing. Here is the opening of this story:
"It snowed right before Jack stopped talking to Hazel, fluffy white flakes big enough to show their crystal architecture, like perfect geometric poems. It was the sort of snow that transforms the world around it into a different kind of place... It was the sort of snowfall that, if there were any magic to be had in the world, would make it come out.

And magic did come out.

But not the kind you were expecting." (p. 1-2)
I am so looking forward to talking about this book with friends and students. Not only does Ursu use beautiful descriptive writing to convey the snowy setting of wintry Minnesota, she also draws Hazel's interior dialog with genuine insight. I would love to talk with students about Ursu's themes of the power of imagination, the changes people go through, and the impact that stories can have on us.

And yet there is much in this story that isn't quite sitting with me. Breadcrumbs was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's story The Snow Queen. Like in that story, Jack is struck by a magical glass splinter and his heart is frozen. Jack follows the Snow Queen into the enchanted forest to live in her palace, content to be by her side, his heart (and conscience) frozen. In Breadcrumbs, Hazel follows Jack, determined to rescue him. She undergoes harsh trials in the enchanted forest, encountering different bewitched people from Andersen's stories. I'm fascinated by the way that Ursu describes Hazel's emotions toward the end of this journey. What pushes her on to find Jack? How does she keep going?

If you're like me, this book will provide wonderful food for thought and lead to rich discussions with book groups or classes. Which leads me to announce a wonderful giveaway, provided by Anne Ursu and Walden Pond Press.

The winner of this giveaway will receive a complimentary 30-45 minute Skype visit with author Anne Ursu!

The contest is open to all teachers, librarians, and other educators (including homeschool groups) who work with children in an instructional capacity. Please keep in mind Anne’s book is written for children in grades 4-7 when submitting your entry. Class/group size must be a minimum of 10 children. One entry per educator only. You must fill out the form below to enter. Giveaway is open to US residents only. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time) October 8, 2011.

Make sure to stop by other stops on the Breadcrumbs blog tour. You'll find all the links at the bottom of this page.

Additional Breadcrumbs Blog Tour Stops
Monday, 9/26- Guest Post at The Book Whisper
Tuesday, 9/27 - Review and Book Giveaway at Mundie Kids
Wednesday, 9/28 - Review and Skype Giveaway at Great Kid Books
Wednesday, 9/28 - Book Giveaway at 5 Minutes for Books
Thursday, 9/29 - Interview at Bildungsroman
Friday, 9/30 - Review, Guest Post, and Book Giveaway at Bookalicious
Saturday, 10/1 - Interview and Skype Giveaway at Kid Lit Frenzy
Sunday, 10/2 - Review, Interview, and Book Giveaway at The Reading Zone
Monday, 10/3 - Guest Post at Galleysmith
Tuesday 10/4 - Review at Galleysmith
Tuesday, 10/4 - Guest Post, Review, and Book Giveaway at The Book Smugglers
Wednesday, 10/5 - Review and Illustrator Interview at A Backwards Story
Thursday, 10/6 - Guest Post at The Mod Podge Bookshelf
Friday, 10/7 - Interview at Book Rat

Giveaway: Walden Books Press is celebrating the release of Breadcrumbs with a giveaway! They're giving away an iPad and an iPad cover with Breadcrumbs cover art on Twitter! Be sure to visit the Walden Pond Press blog for more details.

Author Chat: On Tuesday, 10/4 at 8pm EDT Breadcrumbs author, Anne Ursu (@anneursu) and Bigger Than a Breadbox author Laurel Snyder (@LaurelSnyder) will participate in a chat hosted by my #titletalk co-host, Paul W. Hankins (@PaulWHankins), called "Magic is Real: Magic, Fantasy, and Realism in Middle Grade" under the hashtag #magicisreal.

The review copy was kindly sent by Walden Pond Press / HarperCollins. I have already purchased a copy for home from my local bookstore, Mrs. Dalloway's Books.

Review ©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.

1 comment:

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