Monday, January 11, 2016

ECHO by Pam Munoz Ryan -- and Newbery thoughts, anyone?

The Newbery awards (and other ALA Youth Media Awards) will be announced this morning in Boston at 8 am EST. I'm posting this at 7 am, so at this point, all I can do is wish and hope. I've read so many wonderful MG novels this year that it's difficult to pick just one I think should win.

I have so many favorites: Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly, Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose, Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton, The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead, along with others I haven't had a chance to blog about yet. Don't you wish all the books you read and loved this past year could win awards?

One that's certainly deserving of multiple awards is a book published in February 2015, and which I finally read on my recent blogging break in December.



Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan (February 24, 2015, Scholastic Press, 592 pages, for ages 10 to 14)

Source: my favorite local indie bookstore, Children's Book World!

Synopsis (from Indiebound):  Music, magic, and a real-life miracle meld in this genre-defying masterpiece from storytelling maestro Pam Munoz Ryan. 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.

Why I recommend it: Echo is 592 pages long, yet it was so fascinating and so beautifully written I read it in one day! I absolutely loved how the three seemingly-disparate storylines all came together at the end. And because the three stories all hinge on a harmonica, and my late father played the harmonica, this novel affected me in a big way. This is the kind of book that sends shivers up your spine. If Echo doesn't win at least a Newbery honor today, I'll be sorely disappointed.

As the awards are announced, what books were you hoping would win Newbery honors or the Newbery medal?


23 comments:

  1. Wow! This must have been good if you read it in a day. It will be interesting to see who wins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you watch the live webcast, Natalie? That's the first time I remember them doing that (although they may have and I just didn't see it). Before I had to keep up with the newsfeed on Twitter.

      Delete
  2. UPDATE: Congrats to Pam Munoz Ryan for winning a Newbery honor! Woo hoo!

    ReplyDelete
  3. 592 pages? What happened to MG word lengths? This one sounds good enough though to be that long. A Newbery winner would be tough to choose with all the great titles out there this past year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's daunting to look at, Greg. But it reads quickly. And that's true about the Newbery. So many good books out there. Now that the ALA Youth Media Awards have been announced, we know that LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET by Matt de la Pena won the Newbery Medal. Unusual, but not the first time a picture book won.

      Delete
  4. I'm so glad it won a Newbery Honor, because it sounds sooo good I will not mind the daunting page count.
    Thanks for the review! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Drat! I've been working in the library all day and haven't had time to see who won. Well, you've convinced me to read this one. Sounds like my kind of story!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I loved ECHO! I was thrilled to see it win the Newbery Honor. I hoped that FISH IN A TREE would make the Newbery list somewhere, but at least it got recognized. LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET was fantastic, but I was kind of shocked that it won the Newbery. There were so many great MG novels that came out last year. It made me kind of sad for the MG writers, kind of happy for the PB writers (who are totally celebrating). I'm not criticizing the choice, just reacting. I'm happy for all of them. Lots of great books on those lists. :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was surprised by that choice of Newbery medal winner also. But if HUGO CABRET can win a Caldecott, anything is possible!

      Delete
  7. You know how to pick a Newbery Honor winner. This book really does sound like a fascinating read. I like the idea of how three lives are hinged on a harmonica. You really tease your readers with enough information to want to go out and buy a copy! LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET was fantastic. I was pleased, but surprised.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pure luck, Patricia. There are so many amazing MG novels out there that could have won honors.

      And LAST STOP certainly deserves to win for both the text and pictures. It may be the first time in the history of the ALA that a book has won a Newbery and a Caldecott honor at the same time!

      Delete
  8. ECHO was my choice for Newbery this year--I thought it was amazing. If you have a chance to listen to the audiobook, it really "amps up" the whole books experience. (The harmonica playing is incredible.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Faith, that would be fantastic with harmonic music in it. Never thought of listening to the audio book. Great idea!

      Delete
  9. This sounds really wonderful. I will have to put it on my looooong TBR list. Thanks for the review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Rosi. Yes, the TBR list never gets any shorter, does it?

      Delete
  10. I can see why you think that this deserves awards - it sounds great! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was happy that it won a Newbery honor, Erik.

      Delete
  11. I read ECHO over the weekend and fell in love with it. I was 100% sure it would win the Newbery but surprise surprise. I was fortunate to workshop with Matt de la Pena many years ago. He's a terrific writer and teacher and I'm thrilled for him. Anyway ECHO rocks. I'm so glad you loved it too. I was kind of bummed The Thing About Jellyfish didn't take home any awards this year. I thought it was exquisitely written.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You were more sure than I was, Melissa! But at least it won an honor. And I was also a bit surprised that The Thing About Jellyfish wasn't recognized. But it's always hard to predict these awards. Lucky you, getting to work with Matt de la Pena!

      Delete
  12. I haven't read Echo, but have read most of her other books. I have seen Echo around, but haven't gotten to it yet. It sounds delightful and I love that you read it in one day! I look forward to checking it out. Great review!
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't know that I will be buying this. It is just not the sort of book that my students like to read. The Thing About Jellyfish was so very sad that I was glad it didn't win. I never think too hard about the Newbery awards. I'm always disappointed!

    ReplyDelete

YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.