This plump, multi-layered novel follows a musical instrument from 1933 Nazi Germany, where a boy who works in a harmonica factory is trying to rescue his father—jailed for Jewish sympathies—from a prison camp, to 1935 Depression-era Pennsylvania, where two brothers living in an orphanage attempt to stay together (the older, to protect the younger, joins Albert Hoxie’s Philadelphia Harmonica Band), to 1942 Southern California, where Ivy Maria Lopez must leave behind her school’s music program when her family becomes caretakers of a farm owned by a Japanese American family who have been recently interned in a prison camp. Each story is autonomous and compelling and then left on a knife’s edge—and the book ends (1951, New York, Carnegie Hall) with a revelation of how those stories intertwine and an assurance that music, in its beauty, has the power to mitigate bigotry and fear. A page-turner.
— Gā, Children's Book Buyer
2016 Newbery Honor Book New York Times Bestseller
An impassioned, uplifting, and virtuosic tour de force from a treasured storyteller! 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, Echo pushes the boundaries of genre, form, and storytelling innovation to create a wholly original novel that will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.
About the Author
Pam Muñoz Ryan is the recipient of the Newbery Honor Medal and the Kirkus Prize for her New York Times bestselling novel, Echo, as well as the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for multicultural literature for her body of work. Her celebrated novels, Echo, Esperanza Rising, The Dreamer, Riding Freedom, Becoming Naomi Léon, and Paint the Wind, have received countless accolades, among them two Pura Belpré Awards, a NAPPA Gold Award, a Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and two Américas Awards. Her acclaimed picture books include Amelia and Eleanor Go 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. Ryan lives near San Diego, California, with her family.
Awards and Praise for Echo:
A New York Times Notable Book A Publishers Weekly Best Book An ILA Notable Book for a Global Society An ALA Notable Children's Book Winner of the 2015 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers
* "The story of Otto and the cursed sisters honor timeless and traditional folktales [and] 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." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Each individual story is engaging, but together they harmonize to create a thrilling whole." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A masterpiece." -- Christopher Paul Curtis, author of Newbery Medal-winning Bud, Not Buddy
"Daring and beautiful." --Linda Sue Park, author of Newbery Medal-winning A Single Shard