Review: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Sometimes adults miss some of the best, most uplifting stories because they are packaged in a book written for juveniles.  This is why I aim to read at least ONE of the Sunshine State Young Readers Award books each year.  Beginning the end of April, I start checking to see if the list has been published.  Once it is, I make a checklist/bookmark for the patrons of the Charlotte County Library System.

The 2013 – 2014 Sunshine State Readers Award list for grades 6 -8 included Wonder by R.J. Palacio, which was about a ten-year-old boy who was born with facial deformities.  It remains in my list of top ten most moving books that I have ever read.  I can still get choked up thinking about the story.  It was THAT good.

I haven’t had a chance to read anything on the 2014-2015 list yet, but I have my eye on Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.  Here is a video about the book from

This year (2016-2017), one book on the list jumped out at me.  It was a big book and was listed on the grade 6-8.  When I read the description, I knew I had to read this book.  Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.  Here is the book trailer.

The story begins when a boy named Otto becomes lost in the woods and is helped by three prophetic sisters who gift him with a quest and a harmonica. What follows is the story of the lives of three people who’s lives become interwoven through ownership of the harmonica – Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy.  The book deals with the treatment of Jews in Germany during WWII, the treatment of orphans in the US during the Great Depression, and the treatment of Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor. The author wove all of the stories of these people together in such a beautiful way and then the ending connected them all through music.

If you can, I suggest getting your hands on the audiobook.  The story was enhanced by the wonderful music that was interspersed through the audiobook.   I listened to the book while driving to and from work.  I am so glad that I did.

Thanks for reading.


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Kathy Harriott

My husband, Mike, and I moved from NJ to Southwest Florida in September 2006. I currently work for the local county Facilities Dept. and fill my free time with crafts, reading and my experiments in the kitchen.

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