Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Echo {2016 Newbery Honor}


Written by Pam Munoz Ryan
Published February 24, 2015

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I have been trying to catch up on reading all of the ALA award winners from this year, and Echo has been my favorite so far by a long shot.

Pam Munoz Ryan cleverly weaves a fairy tale into the telling of stories of three different adolescents during World War II.  I think that is why I love the book as much as I do.  It is a masterful twist of imagination and historical fiction.  Otto is a boy who gets mixed up in a fairy tale involving three sisters and a harmonica.  The harmonica is the key to the fairy tale and eventually gets passed on through various means to three youth: Frederich, Mike, and Ivy.  They each discover something about themselves as they play the harmonica, and it helps them through their unique circumstances and challenges.  

Ryan uses each situation to provide interesting perspectives on the time period and the war.  Frederich is living in Germany in 1933 and has a sister and father with conflicting political opinions, Mike is living in Pennsylvania in 1935 and is an orphan trying to keep him and his younger brother together, and Ivy is living in California in 1942 and has a brother serving in the military.  Yet, through the harmonica, all are intertwined in the bigger plot.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and would recommend it to anyone.  Echo showed many moments of  heroism and hope despite difficult challenges that the characters faced.  World War II is such a hard time to write about and keep hope alive, but Ryan pulls it off beautifully.

My Rating: 5 stars (I can see myself reading this one again.)
Perfect for: 10-14 year olds

Happy Reading!


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