Echo is a beautifully orchestrated novel by award winning author Pam Munoz Ryan involving the lives of four different children. The book begins with Otto’s story, a young boy lost in a forbidden forest. There, three mysterious sisters—Eins, Zwei, and Drei—who give him a melodious harmonica, rescue him. It is this harmonica that becomes the thread to which each of the succeeding stories revolves.
Decades later Friedrich, a boy living in Nazi Germany, finds the harmonica. A few years later the instrument falls in the hands of Mike, a Pennsylvanian orphan, and months later it is found by Ivy, the daughter of a Central California Mexican farmer.
All the children face challenges. Friedrich tries to rescue his father from the Nazis, Mike protects his brother Frankie from the Pennsylvania foster care system, and Ivy fights prejudice in Orange County, California.
Echo is the winner of a 2016 Newbery Honor, and deservedly so. Though the written novel is a magical story, the audio version includes music directly related to the plot including tunes from a cello, piano, harmonica, and a vocal rendition of “Some Enchanted Evening.”
All the stories told are interconnected with the magic of music and the central theme of hope that music inspires in all of us.
Though the publisher, Scholastic, has marketed Echo for middle school children, it is a masterpiece for children of all ages to be read, listened to, and enjoyed.
About the Author
Pam Munoz Ryan is an award winning author of over forty books for children and teens including The Dreamer, Becoming Naomi Leon, and Esperanza Rising. She has received the NEA’s Human and Civil Rights Award, the Willa Cather Award, and the PEN USA Award, to name just a few. Born in Bakersfield, CA, Ryan earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees from San Diego State University and today lives in North San Diego County with her family. You can visit her on her website at http://www.pammunozryan.com.