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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My husband, Mike, and I moved from NJ to Southwest Florida in September 2006. I currently work at a local library and fill my free time with crafts, reading and my experiments in the kitchen. Our fur kids, Buddy the dog and Nibbles (aka Brutus) the cat, keep us entertained all day.

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