Echo

Echo

5.0 3
by Pam Munoz Ryan
     
 

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Winner of a 2016 Newbery Honor, ECHO pushes the boundaries of genre, form, and storytelling innovation.

Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.
 
Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania,

Overview


Winner of a 2016 Newbery Honor, ECHO pushes the boundaries of genre, form, and storytelling innovation.

Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.
 
Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo. 
 
Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, this impassioned, uplifting, and virtuosic tour de force will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - John Stephens
After reading Pam Muñoz Ryan's enchanting new novel, you'll never think of a harmonica the same way again…Long before the three stories came together in the book's last, triumphant section, I'd been won over by the complex, largehearted characters Muñoz Ryan has created and the virtues—bravery, tolerance, kindness—that the novel espouses. But Muñoz Ryan…is also a writer who cares about sentences…Start to finish, the book is a joy to read.
Publishers Weekly
★ 12/22/2014
The fairy tale that opens this elegant trio of interconnected stories from Ryan (The Dreamer) sets the tone for the rest of the book, in which a mystical harmonica brings together three children growing up before and during WWII. Friedrich, an aspiring conductor whose birthmark makes him an undesirable in Nazi Germany, must try to rescue his father after his Jewish sympathies land him in a prison camp. In Pennsylvania, piano prodigy Mike and his brother, Frankie, get a chance to escape the orphanage for good, but only if they can connect with the eccentric woman who has adopted them. In California, Ivy Maria struggles with her school’s segregation as well as the accusations leveled against Japanese landowners who might finally offer her family a home of their own. Each individual story is engaging, but together they harmonize to create a thrilling whole. The book’s thematic underpinnings poignantly reveal what Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy truly have in common: not just a love of music, but resourcefulness in the face of change, and a refusal to accept injustice. Ages 10–14. Agent: Kendra Marcus, BookStop Literary Agency. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

Praise for Echo :

• "Ryan has created three contemporary characters who, through faith and perseverance, write their own happy endings, inspiring readers to believe they can do the same." -- School Library Journal, starred review

• “A grand narrative that examines the power of music to inspire beauty in a world overrun with fear and intolerance, it's worth every moment of readers' time.” -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

• "The book’s thematic underpinnings poignantly reveal what Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy truly have in common: not just a love of music, but resourcefulness in the face of change, and a refusal to accept injustice." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

• "Ryan’s ingenious plotting harmonizes as sweetly as the famed mouth harp itself, and her eloquent prose breathes life and energy into likable characters whose stories are individually compelling and historically resonant." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

"A satisfyingly multilayered tale of music, self-sacrifice and redemption." -- Wall Street Journal

“After reading Pam Munoz Ryan’s enchanting new novel, you’ll never see the harmonica the same way again….Start to finish the book is a joy to read….
The music swells, the book sings.” -- New York Times

Praise for The Dreamer :

Pura Belpre Award

Boston Globe-Honor Book Award Honor

ALA Notable

*"An immaculately crafter and inspiring piece of text and art."-- Publishers Weekly, starred review

*". . . rich, resonant and enchanting."--Kirkus, starred review

*"The perfect marriages of text and art."--School Library Journal, starred review

*"All the feel of a classic . . . deeply rewarding and eminently readable."--Booklist, starred review

Praise for Esperanza Rising :

Pura Belpre Award

Jane Addams Children's Book Award Winner

ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults

*"Told in a lyrical, fairy tale-like style. . . . Readers will be swept up."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

*"Easy to booktalk, useful in classroom discussions, and accessible as pleasure reading, this well-written novel belongs in all collections."--School Library Journal, starred review

 

VOYA, February 2015 (Vol. 37, No. 6) - Pam Carlson
Would you believe that a harmonica can save lives? It all begins with a witch’s curse on her three foster daughters. They will never find their way home until a musical instrument is used to rescue a life on the brink of death. Young Otto meets them when he gets lost in the woods. Later his career as a harmonica maker launches their way to freedom when one of his creations is touched with magic. Three children living during the World War II era unknowingly pass that same harmonica along to one another. Each plays not only with skill but also with a beautiful infusion of intensity and longing. Friedrich dreams of becoming a conductor but must first flee Hitler’s Germany. Pianist Mike, an orphan in Pennsylvania, agrees to join the Harmonica Wizards to protect his brother. Excellent student and harmonica virtuoso, Hispanic Ivy misses an opportunity to play a solo on the radio and is then stunned to discover the depths of racism when her family relocates from Fresno to Orange County. Each of their stories ends in probable tragedy. Years later, their lives coincide in a tearful, joyous night of music. Resilient, smart characters refuse to give in to circumstances seemingly beyond their control. Ryan’s stories never fail to touch the heart, but this one is also a resounding argument to maintain music programs in schools. To quote Ivy’s music teacher, “Everyone needs the beauty and light of music, especially during the worst of times.” Reviewer: Pam Carlson; Ages 11 to 18.
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Five intertwined story lines wend from a magical forest to various locations during WWII; each story leads into the next. Each set of characters’ fates is intertwined with those in the stories that follow—all connected by a small musical instrument. Three babies, who should have been princesses, are hidden away in a witch’s house. Otto discovers the young girls when he gets lost during a game of hide-and-seek. They are trapped in the forest and can only be freed if Otto takes the gift they offer and passes it along. It carries a prophecy of saving a life. Many years later, a young aspiring musician and conductor finds an unusual harmonica in the Hohner factory where he works. The music it makes is unworldly and beautiful, but the harmonica must be left behind when Otto leaves his small town to ransom his father from a concentration camp. The harmonica next finds itself in the hands of two boys, adopted from an abusive orphanage in Pennsylvania. The older brother, Mike, plays his way into the famous Hoxie Philadelphia Harmonica Band. The harmonica is later donated to needy children as Mike’s musical career takes off. In California, budding musician Ivy must leave behind friends and a supportive teacher when her family takes up curatorial responsibility for the farm of an interned Japanese American family, the Yamamotos. She is shocked to find that while in her new home, she must attend a separate school with other Mexican children even though she was born in the United States. Still, her compelling harmonica solo earns her a place playing the flute in the school orchestra and she passes the harmonica along to the oldest son of the Yamamotos, who is a Marine. The harmonica stops a bullet aimed at his heart. The final part of the book bring closure to all these stories, notably when a concert at Carnegie Hall in 1951 features the conductor Friedrich, the newest flautist, Ivy, and guest piano soloist, Mike. This book deals with difficult issues in an accessible way, thereby inviting discussion about prejudice and the fears and actions that can follow on both personal and national levels. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.; Ages 10 to 15.
School Library Journal
★ 12/01/2014
Gr 5–8—"Long before enchantment was eclipsed by doubt," a young boy named Otto lost in the woods is rescued by three sisters imprisoned there by a witch's curse. In return, he promises to help break the curse by carrying their spirits out of the forest in a mouth harp and passing the instrument along when the time is right. The narrative shifts to the 20th century, when the same mouth harp (aka harmonica) becomes the tangible thread that connects the stories of three children: Friedrich, a disfigured outcast; Mike, an impoverished orphan; and Ivy, an itinerant farmer's child. Their personal struggles are set against some of the darkest eras in human history: Friedrich, the rise of Nazi Germany; Mike, the Great Depression; Ivy, World War II. The children are linked by musical talent and the hand of fate that brings Otto's harmonica into their lives. Each recognizes something unusual about the instrument, not only its sound but its power to fill them with courage and hope. Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy are brought together by music and destiny in an emotionally triumphant conclusion at New York's Carnegie Hall. Meticulous historical detail and masterful storytelling frame the larger history, while the story of Otto and the cursed sisters honor timeless and traditional folktales. Ryan has created three contemporary characters who, through faith and perseverance, write their own happy endings, inspiring readers to believe they can do the same.—Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-12-06
A multilayered novel set in turbulent times explores music's healing power. Sweeping across years and place, Ryan's full-bodied story is actually five stories that take readers from an enchanted forest to Germany, Pennsylvania, Southern California and finally New York City. Linking the stories is an ethereal-sounding harmonica first introduced in the fairy-tale beginning of the book and marked with a mysterious M. In Nazi Germany, 12-year-old Friedrich finds the harmonica in an abandoned building; playing it fills him with the courage to attempt to free his father from Dachau. Next, the harmonica reaches two brothers in an orphanage in Depression-era Pennsylvania, from which they are adopted by a mysterious wealthy woman who doesn't seem to want them. Just after the United States enters World War II, the harmonica then makes its way to Southern California in a box of used instruments for poor children; as fifth-grader Ivy Lopez learns to play, she discovers she has exceptional musical ability. Ryan weaves these stories together, first, with the theme of music—symbolized by the harmonica—and its ability to empower the disadvantaged and discriminated-against, and then, at the novel's conclusion, as readers learn the intertwined fate of each story's protagonist. A grand narrative that examines the power of music to inspire beauty in a world overrun with fear and intolerance, it's worth every moment of readers' time. (Historical fiction. 9-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439874021
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
02/24/2015
Pages:
592
Sales rank:
996
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 2.00(d)
Lexile:
680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author


Pam Muñoz Ryan is the Newbery Honor winning author of the New York Times bestseller, Echo, as well as the recipient of the Kirkus Prize, the NEA’s Human and Civil Rights Award, and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for multicultural literature. She has written more than thirty books for young readers. Her celebrated novels, Esperanza Rising, Riding Freedom, Becoming Naomi Leon, Paint the Wind, and The Dreamer, have received numerous accolades, among them two Pura Belpré Awards, a NAPPA Gold Award, a Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and an Americas Award. Ryan's acclaimed picture books include Amelia andEleanorGo for a Ride and When Marian Sang, both illustrated by Brian Selznick, and Tony Baloney, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, as well as a beginning reader series featuring Tony Baloney. Her newest novel, Echo, is a NY Times bestseller described by Kirkus Reviews as "a grand narrative that examines the power of music to inspire beauty in a world overrun with fear and intolerance." Ryan lives near San Diego, CA with her family. You can visit her at www.pammunozryan.com.
 

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Echo 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
MariahEllis 11 months ago
This book was absolutely beautiful and moving. The author wove such an incredible and intricate story with several POVs that came together amazingly in the end. I found myself deeply invested in the characters and genuinely caring about what happened to them. I loved the way I could see them grow and develop. This is one of those books that I can see becoming a classic. Though it is a little lengthier than most books read in the classroom, I do think that it would fit in very well in that environment. I can already envision so many wonderful projects that could go along with the reading. If you have the opportunity, please listen to the audio. The music that is included really adds something special to the story.
vanhookcIA More than 1 year ago
Three cheers for author, Pam Munoz Ryan, on an exceptional piece of literature for children and young adults, ECHO. Not only is this a piece of historical fiction but it also has a magical flavor woven into its 585 pages. At the start of the story, little Otto buys a book and harmonica from a traveling Gypsy. As he begins to read the book about three sister’s under a witch’s spell, this magical story comes to life! He learns that he has a role in the story’s unwritten "blank pages" as three more stories begin to unfold -- all woven together by a silken thread of destiny -- about Friedrich (1933) living in Germany during the rise of Nazi power; Michael (1935) living in an Pennsylvania orphanage during the Great Depression, and Ivy (1941) living in a California barrio. Music gives all these main characters the strength to take refuge from their troubles, gain strength, and protect their loved ones. Ryan uses the harmonica to travel throughout these stories, bringing peace and happiness, solace and comfort to all of her characters. Otto, Friedrich, Michael, and Ivy lives are all impacted by the same harmonica. The reader sees this, yet the characters may never know! Though there are some powerfully difficult times in history covered in this book, Ryan keeps her story on a gentle, positive note, worthy of readers in 4th grade up! Through the harmonious use of music and lyrical language, she weaves together a story rich in family bond, bravery, human and racial tolerance, and kindness to all. For the reader wanting more, once this beautiful story has concluded, here’s a list of historical topics from the book to research: Nazi youth groups and WWII; orphanages during the Great Depression; California migrant farm laborers, Japanese Internment Camps, institutional racism and Mexican American education; the Hohner harmonica and the Harmonica Band Movement of the 1920s and 30s. Congratulations, Pam Munoz Ryan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago