Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Echo gets 4.5 Stars {Middle Grade Fiction} {Historical Fiction} {Newbery Honor}

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan is a WWII historical fiction for middle grades.  I'd say upper elementary and middle school.  A high school student could write a great english paper on how Ryan intertwines the stories and times with one single object.  This book gets 4.5/5 stars in my book review.  AMAZING audiobook. Newbery Honor book aka runner-up for best kids books.  chapter book. music.  If you love music, this is a great book.  Alohamora Open a Book

I'm not sure if it is just me or if there is an influx of WWII books, but I have read A LOT of World War II historical fiction books in the past year.  I want to say I've read more WWII historical fictions this past year than the 10 previously, but that may not be completely accurate.  

I've told you before that I love historical fictions, and WWII historical fictions may be my favorite.  However, this past year I've read some truly AMAZING WWII historical fiction books. Nightingale, which I reviewed here, and The War That Saved My Life which will be reviewed on the blog tomorrow are my absolute two favorite books as of late. .

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan wrote this long, almost 600 page, amazing WWII historical fiction novel for kids between 5th and 10th grade.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.  This book was oh so close to earning the coveted perfect score, but I had just a couple minor glitches with it.  Echo was just a bit confusing at first and hard to get into.  I was especially confused when the story switched points of view as well as settings; it was a challenge and also difficult to get back into.  My only other questionable aspect of the story is that it's geared towards 5th grade and up, but it is a really long book that only bookworms would finish or even pick up.  I think 7th grade is the youngest I'd go, but a bookworm in 5th grade I'd let him or her read it.     

Echo is an absolutely beautiful story.  The way Ryan weaves the story together using an object was original and a lot of fun to read.  It also kept me thinking about the story once finished; that's a sign of a great book.  Pam Munoz Ryan really is an amazing author; every story I've read of hers is well written, complex, beautiful, and leaves you feeling empowered.  It's no wonder Ryan won a Newbery Honor this year for this book, and to be honest I'm surprised Echo only won the runner-up aka Honor book for the Odyssey Award.

The Odyssey Award is an award given to the best audiobook for children or teens, and Echo won the Honor medal for it.  I absolutely loved the audiobook production of Echo that I checked out from the library.  This book is a very musical book, and the music lover will love this well written book.  However, I would suggest everyone listen to the audiobook b/c the music pieces that is referenced in the book is actually played in the audiobook using a harmonica.  It is AMAZING for the non-musical person.  The audiobook truly made the book for me.  I liked the written book, but I loved the audiobook of Echo.  

Now, if you have a music loving student get them this audiobook to enjoy.  The great thing about audiobooks is if you have a less than excited reader, aka reluctant reader, they can listen to this book as they read it.  This reading/teaching strategy is something you can do for every book.  The student will enjoy the story and still benefit from listening to it

Definitely go check Echo out!  

Amazon had the following book review from School Library Journal: 

"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."

Echo is a great book and a clean read, and it is an amazing audiobook!  Go find either version/copy at your library!

Happy Award Winning WWII Historical Fiction book reading and/or listening!

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